-   -_,                           /\
         (  ~/||    _                      ||
         (  / ||   / \\  _-_         /'\\ =||=
          \/==||  || || || \\       || ||  ||
          /_ _||  || || ||/         || ||  ||
         (  - \\, \\_-| \\,/        \\,/   \\,
                   /  \

           ,- _~,                                           _-_, _-_,
          (' /| /                 '                           //   //
         ((  ||/= \\/\\/\\ -_-_  \\ ,._-_  _-_   _-_,         ||   ||
         ((  ||   || || || || \\ ||  ||   || \\ ||_.         ~||  ~||
          ( / |   || || || || || ||  ||   ||/    ~ ||         ||   ||
           -____- \\ \\ \\ ||-'  \\  \\,  \\,/  ,-_-        _-_, _-_,

    |    Age of Empires II FAQ   /   Version 4.3  /    Aug.  17th, 2001   |
    |        Written by Jim Chamberlin         |
    |                                                                     |
    |                 This FAQ covers the following games:                |
    |                                                                     |
    |                    • Age of Empires II: Age of Kings                |
    |                    • Age of Empires II: The Conquerers              |
    |                                                                     |
    | This document Copyright © 2001 Jim Chamberlin. All rights reserved. |

       << Online Resources >>
       Ensemble Studios - Official Site       http://www.ensemblestudios.com/
       Through The Ages - Fan Site            http://www.throughtheages.com
       Planet Age of Empires - Fan Site       http://www.planetageofempires.com
       MrFixItOnline (MFO) - Fan Site         http://mrfixitonline.com/
       AOE2.com - Fan Site                    http://www.aoe2.com/
       Age of Kings Heaven - Fan Site         http://aok.heavengames.com/
       Age of Kings Database - Fan Site       http://aokdb.com/

         The above are the best of the best Age of Kings related sites.
         All of them have tons of downloads, interviews, etc.

         Ensemble Studios will have Random Maps released occasionally,
         so I suggest that you check out the site for a new download!

.--------------------========= ANNOUNCEMENTS =========-------------------------.
|                             ―――――――――――――――                                  |
|       [All major Age of Empires news will be included in this section.]      |
|                                                                              |
|    Aug. 16th --- New Patch for The Conquerers.                               |
|                  Ensemble Studios has released version 1.0C of their         |
|                  Conquerers patch.  For further details, check out the       |
|                  official site - http://www.ensemblestudios.com              |

                               Table of Contents

   1.        Introduction

   2.        Changes in Age of Empires games.
           • AoE: Rise of Rome to AoE II: Age of Kings
           • AoE II: Age of Kings to AoE II: The Conquerers

   3.        Buildings
           • Archery Range
           • Barracks
           • Blacksmith
           • Bombard Tower
           • Castle
           • Dock
           • Farm
           • Fish Trap
           • Foritified Wall
           • Gate
           • Guard Tower
           • House
           • Keep
           • Lumber Camp
           • Market
           • Mill
           • Mining Camp
           • Monastery
           • Outpost
           • Palisade Wall
           • Siege Workshop
           • Stable
           • Stone Wall
           • Town Center
           • University
           • Watch Tower
           • Wonder

   4.        The Units
        A.   Miscellaneous
           • Missionary (TC ONLY)
           • Monk
           • Relic
           • Trade Cart
           • Villager
        B.   Infantry
           • Berserk & Elite Berserk
           • Champion
           • Eagle Warrior & Elite Warrior (TC ONLY)
           • Halberdier (TC ONLY)
           • Huskarl & Elite Huskarl
           • Jaguar Warrior & Elite Jaguar Warrior (TC ONLY)
           • Long Swordsman
           • Man- at- Arms
           • Militia
           • Pikemen
           • Samurai & Elite Samurai
           • Spearmen
           • Teutonic Knight & Elite Teutonic Knight
           • Throwing Axemen & Elite Throwing Axemen
           • Two- Handed Swordsman
           • Woad Raider & Elite Woad Raider
        C.   Archery
           • Arbalest
           • Archer
           • Cavalry Archer
           • Chu Ko Nu & Elite Chu Ko Nu
           • Conquistador & Elite Conquistador (TC ONLY)
           • Crossbowman
           • Elite Skirmisher
           • Hand Cannoneer
           • Heavy Cavalry Archer
           • Janissary & Elite Janissary
           • Longbowman & Elite Longbowman
           • Mangudai & Elite Magudai
           • Plumed Archer & Elite Plumed Archer (TC ONLY)
           • Skirmisher
           • War Wagon & Elite War Wagon (TC ONLY)
        D.   Cavalry
           • Camel
           • Cavalier
           • Cataphract & Elite Cataphract
           • Heavy Cavalry
           • Hussar (TC ONLY)
           • Knight
           • Light Cavalry
           • Mameluke & Elite Mameluke
           • Paladin
           • Scout Cavalry
           • Tarkan & Elite Tarkan (TC ONLY)
           • War Elephant & Elite War Elephant
        E.   Siege Weapons
           • Battering Ram
           • Bombard Cannon
           • Capped Ram
           • Mongonel
           • Onager
           • Petard (TC ONLY)
           • Scorpion & Elite Scorpion
           • Siege Onager
           • Siege Ram
           • Trebuchet
        F.   Boats
           • Cannon Galleon & Elite Cannon Galleon
           • Demolition Ship & Heavy Demolition Ship
           • Fire Ship & Fast Fire Ship
           • Fishing Ship
           • Galleon
           • Galley
           • Longboat & Elite Longboat
           • Trade Cog
           • Transport Ship
           • Turtle Ship & Elite Turtle Ship (TC ONLY)
           • War Galley

   5.        Technologies
        A.   Blacksmith (Origin)
           • Blast Furnace
           • Bodkin Arrow
           • Bracer
           • Chain Barding Armor
           • Chain Mail Armor
           • Fletching
           • Forging
           • Iron Casting
           • Leather Archer Armor
           • Padded Archer Armor
           • Plate Barding Armor
           • Plate Mail Armor
           • Ring Archer Armor
           • Scale Barding Armor
           • Scale Mail Armor
        B.   Mill (Origin)
           • Crop Rotation
           • Heavy Plow
           • Horse Collar
        C.   University (Origin)
           • Architecture
           • Ballistics
           • Chemistry
           • Heated Shot
           • Masonry
           • Murder Holes
           • Siege Engineers
           • Treadmill Crane
        D.   Monastery (Origin)
           • Atonement
           • Block Printing
           • Faith
           • Fervor
           • Herbal Medicine (TC ONLY)
           • Heresy (TC ONLY)
           • Illumination
           • Redemption
           • Sanctity
           • Theocracy (TC ONLY)
        E.   Barracks (Origin)
           • Squires
           • Tracking
        F.   Town Center (Origin)
           • Hand Cart
           • Loom
           • Town Center
           • Town Watch
           • Wheelbarrow
        G.   Castle (Origin)
           • Anarchy (TC ONLY)
           • Artillery (TC ONLY)
           • Atheism (TC ONLY)
           • Bearded Axe (TC ONLY)
           • Berserkergang (TC ONLY)
           • Conscription
           • Crenellations (TC ONLY)
           • Drill (TC ONLY)
           • El Dorado (TC ONLY)
           • Furor Celtica (TC ONLY)
           • Garland Wars (TC ONLY)
           • Hoardings
           • Kataparuto (TC ONLY)
           • Logistica (TC ONLY)
           • Mahouts (TC ONLY)
           • Perfusion (TC ONLY)
           • Rocketry (TC ONLY)
           • Sappers
           • Shinkichon (TC ONLY)
           • Spies
           • Supremacy (TC ONLY)
           • Yeomen (TC ONLY)
           • Zealotry (TC ONLY)
        H.   Mining Camp (Origin)
           • Gold Mining
           • Gold Shaft Mining
           • Stone Mining
           • Stone Shaft Mining
        I.   Lumber Camp (Origin)
           • Double-Bit Axe
           • Bow Saw
           • Two-Man Saw
        J.   Market (Origin)
           • Banking
           • Caravan (TC ONLY)
           • Cartography
           • Coinage
           • Guilds
        K.   Stable (Origin)
           • Bloodlines (TC ONLY)
           • Husbandry
        L.   Dock
           • Careening
           • Dry Dock
           • Shipwright
        M.   Archery Range
           - Parthian Tactics (TC ONLY)
           - Thumb Ring (TC ONLY)

   6.        History

   7.        Civilization Comparisons

   8.        Specific Strategies and Tips
           - On the Road to Expert

   9.        Miscellaneous Tips and Strategies

  10.        Appendices
           - Cheats
           - Building Attributes
           - Research Times
           - Unit Training Times
           - Attack Rates
           - Movement Rates
           - Resources
           - Hotkeys


  12.        Acknowledgements

 1.                               Introduction

   Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings is the sequel to the very popular Age of
 Empires title.  Age of Empires 2 (AOE2) was delayed for a while because they
 wanted to get everything right before they shipped it.  That was the reason for
 Age of Empires: Rise of Rome.  It was supposed to cure our crave for more Age
 of Empires, when they all knew we wanted Age of Empires 2.  Well, Rise of Rome
 did a pretty good job in serving as an appetizer.  Age of Empires II: Age of
 Kings has done very, very well in sales so far.

   Age of Empires II: The Conquerers (TC) has been released!  Go get it!

   I've altered this FAQ to cover TC as well, enjoy!

 2.                       Changes in Age of Empires Games

                   AoE: Rise of Rome to AoE II: Age of Kings

          [Taken From the Age of Empires II: Age of Kings Game Manual]

  * 13 New Civilizations - Each has a unique unit and a team bonus.

  * New Units - Including, Kings, Heroes, female villagers, knights, cannons,
    and exploding demolition ships.

  * New Buildings - Including impressive castles and gates that automatically
    open and close for you and your allies.

  * New Technologies - Including Conscription (increases military unit creation
    speed) and Town Watch (increases building Line of Sight).

  * Formations - Precision control of how your army moves and engages in combat.

  * New Multimedia Campaigns - Unique music and more than 300 pieces of original
    art enhance your game as you follow a soldier through battles featuring
    William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Saladin, Genghis Khan, and Frederick  Barbossa.

  * New Ways To Trade - Trade with other players over land and by sea; buy or
    sell resources at the Market.

  * Learning Campaign - Master the basics by helping William Walace rise from
    his humble beginnings to defeat the British.

  * Regicide game - Defend your king to win the game.

  * 8 New Map Types - Including the Arabia, Black Forest, Rivers, and Random,
    which allows the computer to pick a surprise map type for you.

  * Garisoning - Station units inside buildings for protection, healing, and
    surprise attacks.

  * New Combat Features - Order military units to patrol, guard, or follow and
    choose their combat stance.

  * Record and replay games - Watch your single- player and multiplayer games

  * Find Idle Villagers - Automatically locate villagers not assigned to a task
    using the "Idle Villager" button.

  * New Online Tech Tree - See what is available to your civilization and which
    units and technologies you've researched while in the game.

  * Improved Multiplayer Features - Save and restore multiplayer games; lock the
    game speed for all players; lock game teams so players can't change alliance
    during a game; signal allies.

  * Gather Points - New units automatically gather at a location or garrison
    inside a building.

  * Improved Interface - Units behind buildings and trees are visible; the mini-
    map has Normal, Combat, and Economic modes; chat interface is expanded; Help
    is integrated into the game.

  * User Profiles - Customize options and hotkeys and automatically save them
    game to game.

  * Online Encyclopedia - Extensive histories of 13 medieval civilizations;
    background on the Middle Ages, armies, weapons, and warfare.

                 AoE II: Age of Kings to AoE II: The Conquerers

         [Taken from the Age of Empires II: The Conquerers Game Manual]

  * Civilizations - Aztecs, Huns, Koreans, Mayans, and Spanish.

  * Units - Conquistadors, Eagle Warriors, Halberdiers, Hussars, Jaguar
    Warriors, Missionaries, Petards, Plummed Archers, Tarkans, Turtle
    Ships, and War Wagons.

  * Technologies - Bloodlines, Caravan, Herbal Medecine, Heresy, Parthian
    Tactics, Theocracy, and Thumb Ring.  In addition, each civilization
    can research a unique technology that improves its unique unit or team

  * Campaigns - Battle as Attila the Hun, El Cid, Montezuma, and other
    remarkable conquerers.  New difficulty settings let anyone play to win.
    Campaign objectives now include a "Scouts" tab that provides reconnaissance
    information about the map and your enemies.

  * New Game Types - King of the Hill, Wonder Race, Defend the Wonder.

  * Real World Maps - Based on geographical locations, such as Britain,
    France, Italy, and of course, Texas.

  * More Maps - Arena, Ghost Lake, Mongolia, Nomad, Oasis, Salt Marsh,
    Scandinavia, Yucatan, and Random Land.

  * Winter and Tropical Terrain - On winter maps, walk across ice and leave
    footprints in the snow.  On tropical maps, herd turkeys instead of sheep
    and fend off jaguars instead of wolves.

  * Last Man Standing victory condition - After defeating your enemy, team
    members turn on each other until one player wins.

  * Farms automatically replant - Queue Farms so they automatically replant
    after all the food has been gathered from them.

  * Ship formations - Ships move in formation just like land units.

  * Ram Garrisoning - Units can garrison inside Battering, Capped, and Siege
    Rams for protection and to increase the ram's speed and attack.

  * Smart Villagers - Villagers work smarter, build walls more intelligently,
    and automatically gather resources after constructing a drop-off building.

  * Smart Siege Weapons - Mangonels, Onagers, and Siege Onagers don't
    automatically attack if they would harm friendly units.

  * Improved Trading and Tributes - Buy, Sell, and Tribute lots of 500, or
    tribute everything in your stockpile.

  * Improved Chatting - See messages in each player's color.

  * Improved Diplomacy UI - See other player's stances toward you.

  * Friend or foe colors - Change player colors to see enemies in one color,
    allies in another.

  * Command Allied Computer Players - Use chat commands to order allied computer
    players to attack, tribute resources, and build an economy, military, or
    a Wonder.

  * Return to previous view - Press the BACKSPACE key to return to the previous
    location on the map.  For example, if the screen is centered on your army
    and you return back to your Town Center to tend your economy, press the
    BACKSPACE key to return to your army.  Press the key multiple times to
    display the last 10 locations.

  * Random teams option - Players who select a question mark (?) as their "Team"
    setting before starting a game are randomly placed on the teams of players
    who have chosen team numbers.  If all players select random teams, two
    teams are created.

  * Improved Game Recording - Record chat text and insert chapter markers so you
    can easily play back important battles.

  * Full-size Map Screenshots - Choose the reduction ratio and create a
    screenshot of the entire game world.

  * Improved map editor - New scenario triggers, including the ability to change
    unit names and attributes.

  * Customizable random maps - Create your own random map scripts that tell
    the computer what terrain, elevation, and resources to place when creating
    random maps.  To learn how to do this, see the Random Map Script Guide
    (RMSG.doc) in the Docs folder on The Conquerers Expansion CD.

  * There are many, many other changes.  Attributes and other various little
    statistics about a lot of units and buildings have changed.

 3.                                 Buildings

Archery Range

The Archery Range is used to create archers.  Archery Range units can be
garrisoned inside the Archery Range if you set a gather point there while the
units are being created.  They cannot reenter once ungarrisoned.  You must have
a Barracks before you can build an Archery Range.


The Barracks is used to create and improve infantry.  Barracks units can be
garrisoned inside the Barracks if you set a gather point there while the units
are being created.  They cannot reenter once ungarrisoned.  You must have a
Barracks to build an Archery Range.


The Blacksmith lets you improve the attack strength and armor of your infantry,
archers, cavalry, and towers.  You must have a Blacksmith to build a Siege

Bombard Tower

The Bombard Tower has extensive sight to track down enemies.  You must research
Chemistry and Bombard Tower (at the University) before you can build Bombard
Towers.  Because of the new architecture involved, preexisting towers do not
upgrade to Bombard Towers.  Acquiring this technology only allows you to build
Bombard Towers.


Costly and time- consuming to construct, the Castle is the strongest defensive
structure.  At the Castle you can create and upgrade your civilization's unique
unit and create the powerful Trebuchet siege engine.  Several important
military technologies can also be researched at the Castle.

A Castle supports 20 population units and can garrison 20 villagers or military
units (except siege weapons).  Units can be garrisoned at any time.  You can
garrison unique units by setting a gather point while the units are being
created.  Units garrisoned in the Castle heal more quickly than units garrisoned
in other buildings.


The Dock is used to build ships, research naval technology, and trade with other
civilizations.  It is also where Fishing Ships deposit food.  Dock units can be
garrisoned inside the Dock if you set a gather point there while the units are
being created.  They cannot renenter once ungarrisoned.


Farms provide a renewable source of food.  Farms are bult by vilagers, who then
gather food from them.  Each farm provides a limited amount of food before it
goes fallow and must be rebuilt.  To rebuild a Farm, select a villager, and then
right-click the expired Farm.  Before you build Farms, you must build a Mill.
Farms cannot be converted by enemy Monks.  You can farm enemy Farms that have
been abandoned.

You can increase the production of your Farms by researching Horse Collar, Heavy
Plow, and Crop Rotation (at the Mill).

Fish Trap

Fish Traps provide a renewable source of food.  Fish Traps are available in the
Feudal Age, after you build a Fishing Ship.  Fish Traps are built in the water
by Fishing Ships, which then gather food from them.  Only one Fishing Ship can
gather from a Fish Trap at a time.  Each Fish Trap providesa limited amount of
food before it collapses and must be rebuilt.  When a Fish Trap collapses, the
Fishing Ship, and then right- click the expired Fish Trap.

Fortified Wall

Fortified Walls are stronger than Stone Walls but expensive to upgrade and slow
to build.  In Age of Empires II, fortified Walls do not shoot at enemies.
However, the reinforced stone is difficult to breach without siege weapons.


Gates allow your units to pass through walls.  You can build Gates over existing
walls, and you can lock or unlock your Gates.  You might lock a Gate during an
attack to prevent it from opening accidentally when a friendly unit approaches.
Gates automatically open and close for you and your allies unless they are

Click on a Gate, and then click the LOCK GATE or UNLOCK GATE button in the lower-
left corner of the screen.

Guard Tower

The Guard Tower is an upgrade of the Watch Tower.  It is stronger and has greater
fighting ability.  Units can garrison inside for protection and to add additional
attack strength to the tower.  You can upgrade your Guard Tower to Keeps at the


Houses support the population of your civilization.  The more Houses you have,
the larger your population can grow.  Each House supports 5 population units.
Before you can create new villagers, military units, ships, or Trade Carts, you
must have enough Houses to support them.  The population indicator (top of
screen) shows your current/supportable population.  It flashes when you need to
build more houses.


The Keep is an upgrade of the Guard Tower.  It is stronger and has greater
fighting capability.  Units can garrison inside for protection and to add
additional attack strength to the tower.

Lumber Camp

The Lumber Camp is used to deposit wood and research wood- gathering
improvements.  Build Lumber Camps near forests to gather wood faster.


The Market lets you trade by land with other players, buy and sell resources,
and offer resources to other players as tribute.  It is also used to research
technology that improves your communication with allies and decreases the cost of
commodity trading and tributes.  You must have a Mill before you build a Market.


The Mill is used to deposit food and research technology that improves the food
production of your Farms.  Build Mills near sources of food to gather food
faster.  You must have a Mill before you can build Farms or a Market.

Mining Camp

The Mining Camp is used to deposit stone and gold and research your stone and
gold mining.  Build Mining Camps near stone or gold mines to gather these
resources faster.


Monestaries let you create Monks and improve their ability to heal the wounded
and convert the enemy.  Monestaries cannot be converted by enemy Monks.  Relics
garrisoned inside a Monestary provide a continuous supply of gold for your
stockpile.  Monks can be garrisoned inside the Monestary if you set a gather
point there while the Monks are being created.  They cannot reenter once


Outposts are stationary watch points that give you advance warning of enemy
activity nearby.  They have a long line of sight, which can be made longer by
researching technologies at the Town Center.  Unlike the other towers, Outposts
do not attack or allow you to garrison units inside.

Palisade Wall

Palisade Walls are wooden walls that are cheap and fast to build.  You can
construct them on the battlefield as temporary barriers to slow down your enemies
and warn you of their approach.

Siege Workshop

The Siege Workshop is used to build siege weapons.  Siege Workshop units can be
garrisoned inside the Siege Workshop if you set a gather point there while the
units are being created.  They cannot reenter once ungarrisoned.  You must have
a Blacksmith before you can build a Siege Workshop.


The Stable is used to create and improve cavalry.  Stable units can be
garrisoned inside the Stable if you ste a gather point there while the units are
being created.  They cannot reenter once ungarrisoned.  You must have a Barracks
before you can build a Stable.

Stone Wall

Stone Walls are stronger than Palisade Walls but more expensive.  They slow down
your enemies and give you the chance to fend them off.  You can upgrade your
Stone Walls to Fortified Walls at the University.

Town Center

The Town Center is the hub of your civilization.  Each Town Center supports 5
population units inside for protection and healing.  Town Centers with garrisoned
units also fire arrows at enemy soldiers.  After you advance to the Castle Age,
you can build additional Town Centers near remote resources to expand your
civilization.  Town Centers cannot be converted by enemy Monks.

You can improve the damage and range of your Town Centers by researching
Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer (at the Blacksmith); line of sight by
researching Town Watch and Town Patrol (at the Town Center); and hit points,
armor, and accuracy by researching Masonry, Architecture, and Ballistics (at the


The University lets you research technology that improves your buildings, towers,
walls, and missile weapons.

Watch Tower

The Watch Tower is a simple stone tower that automatically attacks enemy units
and buildings within its range.  Units can garrison inside for protection and
to add additional attack strength to the tower.  You can upgrade your Watch
Towers to Guard Towers at the University.


Building a Wonder of the World demonstrates the superiority of your civilization.
A Wonder is expensive and requires a lot of time to build.  In most games,
constructing a Wonder that stands for a certain period of time wins the game.

 4.                                 The Units


Missionary - TC ONLY

Spanish unique unit.  Moves faster than a Monk, but has less line of sight and
range.  Also, a Missionary cannot pick up Relics.  Otherwise, it converts enemy
units and heals friendly units the same way as a Monk.  The Missionary may be
built at a Monestery once a Spanish Castle has been built.  (The Spanish have
two unique units; the other is Conquistador, a cavalry unit.)

Created at: Monestery
Strong vs: Teutonic Knoghts, War Elephants
Weak vs: Archers, Knights, Light Cavalry, Woad Raiders
Upgrades:  (All at Monestery)
          Convert some buildings, siege units - Redemption
          Movement Speed - Fervor
          Hit Points - Sanctity
          Convert other Monks - Atonement
          Greater conversion range - Block Printing
          Less Rejuvenation time - Illumination, Theocracy
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy


Slow and weak.  Converts enemy unis, ships, and some buildings to your
civilization (player color).  Heals wounded villagers, military units (except
siege weapons and ships).

Created At: Monestary
Strong Vs: Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Archers, Knights, Light Cavalry, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: (all at monestary)
          Convert some buildings siege units - Redemption
          Movement Speed - Fervor
          HP - Sanctity
          Convert other Monks - Atonement
          Greater conversion range - Block Printing
          Less Rejuvenation Time - Illumination
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith


Special objects placed randomly on the map.  Can only be moved by Monks.  When
garrisoned in a Monestary, generate gold for your civilization.  Cannot be

Trade Cart

Carries goods to foreign Markets and brings back gold as profit.  Distant Markets
are the most profitable.

Built at: Market
Upgrades: Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

To use a Trade Cart:
Click on the Trade Cart, and then right- click a foreign Market.


Gathers wood, food, gold, and stone.  Builds and repairs buildings, ships, and
siege weapons.

Created at: Town Center
Upgrades: HP, armor, efficiency - Loom, Wheelbarrow, Hand Cart (Town Center)
          Attack - Sappers (Castle)
          Resource Gathering - Double- Bit Axe, Bow Saw, Two- Man Saw; Stone
          Mining, Gold Mining, Stone Shaft Mining, Gold Shaft Mining (Lumber
          Camp, Mining Camp); Heavy Plow (Town Center)
          Build Speed - Treadmill Crane (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Villagers perform the economic work for your civilization.  They chop wood, mine
stone and gold, hunt, forage, fish, herd sheep, and farm.  They also construct
buildings and repair damaged buildings, ships, and siege weapons.  If necessary,
they can also engage in combat.  Villager gender is randomly determined when you
create a new villager.  They perform the same tasks regardless of their gender.


Berserk & Elite Berserk

Viking unique unit created in Castle Age.  Infantry unit that slowly heals
itself. (The Vikings are the only civilization with two unique units.  The
Vikings also receive a Longboat, which may be built at the Dock once a Viking
Castle has been built.)

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit Creation Speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Strongest infantry unit (aside from sme civilizations' unique units); cheap and
quick to create.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit Creation Speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Eagle Warrior & Elite Eagle Warrior - TC ONLY

Fast infantry with extensive line of sight, piercing armor, resistance to
conversion, attack bonus vs Siege Weapons and mounted units.  Civilizations
without cavalry (Aztecs and mayans) start the game with an Eagle Warrior
instead of Scout Cavalry.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Archers, Monks, Siege Weapons
Weak Vs: Infantry, Hand Cannoneers
Upgrades: HP - El Dorado (Mayan unique Technology at Castle)
          Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith; Garland
                   Wars (Aztec unique technology at Castle)
          Armor: Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor (Blacksmith)
          Sight: Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed: Squires (Barracks)
          Unit Creation Speed: COnscription (Castle)
          Unit resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestary)

Halberdier - TC ONLY

Stronger than Pikemen.  Attack bonus vs mounted units and War Elephants

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Mounted units, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Infantry, Archers, Scorpions, Mangonels, Hand Cannoneers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Unit resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)

Huskarl & Elite Huskarl

Gothic unique unit created in Castle Age.  Infantry with substantial pierce
armor, virtually immune to archer fire.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Archers
Weak Vs: Swordsmen
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Jaguar Warrior & Elite Jaguar Warrior - TC ONLY

Aztec unique unit.  Attak bonus vs. other infantry.

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Infantry
Weak vs: Archers, Mangonels, Hand Cannoneers, Cavalry Archers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith); Garland
                   Wars (Aztec unique technology at Castle)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)

Long Swordsman

Stronger than Man- at- Arms; cheap and quick to create.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Arrow
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Man- at- Arms

Stronger than Militia; cheap and quick to create.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Most basic infantry unit; cheap and quick to create.  Only soldier created in
Dark Age.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mongonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit Creation Speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Stronger than Spearmen.  Exceptional vs. cavalry.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Skirmishers, Stable units
Weak Vs: Swordsmen, Archers, Scorpions, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestery)

Samurai & Elite Samurai

Japanese unique unit created in Castle Age.  Infantry with fast attack.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Infantry, unique units
Weak Vs: Archers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit Creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Medium infantry unit.  Exceptional vs. cavalry.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Shirmishers, Stable Units
Weak Vs: Swordsmen, Archers, Scorpions, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail, Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Teutonic Knight & Elite Teutonic Knight

Teutonic unique unit created in Castle Age.  Powerful armor; slow but difficult
to destroy.  Receives benefits of infantry armor.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Swordsmen, Skirmishers, Stable Units
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Monks
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Throwing Axemen & Elite Throwing Axemen

Frank unit created in Castle Age.  Ranged attack.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Barracks units, Shirmishers
Weak Vs: Archers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Two- Handed Swordsman

Stronger than Long Swordsman; cheap and quick to create.

Created at: Barracks
Strong Vs: Shirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Woad Raider & Elite Woad Raider

Celtic unique unit created in Castle Age.  Exceptionally quick infantry unit.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Shirmishers, Camels, Light Cavalry
Weak Vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels, Cataphracts
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, Plate Mail Armor
          Sight - Tracking (Barracks)
          Speed - Squires (Barracks)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)



Quick and light.  Weak at close range; excels at battle from a distance.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Cavalry Archers, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Knights, Mangonels, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Quick and light.  Weak at close range; excels at battle from a distance.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Cavalry Archers, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Knights, Mangonels, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Cavalry Archer

Fast, with ranged attack.  Ideal for hit- and- run attacks.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Swordsmen, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Archers, Light Cavalry
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Chu Ko Nu & Elite Chu Ko Nu

Chinese unique unit created in Castle Age.  Archer with mediocre range with
causes great damage.  Can fire arrows very quickly.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Knights, Light Cavalry, Mangonels, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Conquistador & Elite Conquistador - TC ONLY

Spanish unique unit.  Cavalry hand cannoneer.  Powerful close attack; not
accurate at range.  (The Spanish have two unique units; the other is the
Missionary, a Monk unit.)

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Swordsmen, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak vs: Knights, Camels, Pikemen
Upgrades: Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Hit Points - Bloodlines (Stable)
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)


Quick and light.  Weak at close range; excels at battle from a distance.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Cavalry Archers, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War 
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Knights, Mangonels, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Elite Skirmisher

Ranged unit equipped with armor vs archer attacks.  Exceptional Vs. archers.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Archers, Monks, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Mangonels, Barracks units
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Hand Cannoneer

Powerful close range; innacurate at range.  Keeps non-ranged units from closing
on other units.  Requires Chemistry.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Monks, Teutonic Knights
Weak Vs: Archers, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Heavy Cavalry Archer

Fast, with ranged attack.  Ideal for hit- and- run attacks.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Swordsmen, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Archers, Light Cavalry
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Janissary & Elite Janissary

Turk unique unit created in Castle Age.  Hand Cannoneer with lower and no minimum
range.  Powerful close attack; inaccurate at range.  Keeps non-ranged units from
closing on other units.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Monks, Teutonic Knights
Weak Vs: Archers, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Longbowman & Elite Longbowman

Briton unique unit created in Castle Age.  Powerful with long range.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Knights, Mangonels, Woad Raiders, Huskarls
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Mangudai & Elite Mangudai

Mongol unique unit created in Castle Age.  Cavalry archer with attack bonus vs.
siege weapons.

Created at: Castle
Strong Vs: Swordsmen, Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants, Siege Weapons
Weak Vs: Shirmishers, Archers, Light Cavalry
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Plumed Archer & Elite Plumed Archer - TC ONLY

Mayan unique unit.  Stronger, faster, and better armored than other archers, but
have less attack.

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Other Archers, Slow Units (Monks, Teutonic Knights, War Elephants)
Weak vs: Cavalry, Skirmishers, Other Fast Units (Eagle Warriors, Woad Raiders)
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University
          Attack, Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University), Thumb Ring (Archery Range)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)


Ranged unit equipped with armor vs. archer attacks.  Exceptional vs Archers.

Created at: Archery Range
Strong Vs: Archers, Monks, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Mangonels, Barracks units
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Braer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

War Wagon & Elite War Wagon - TC ONLY

Korean unique unit.  Heavily armored archery unit.  (The Koreans have two unique
units; the other is the Turtle Ship, a Dock unit.)

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Infantry, Archers
Weak vs: Cavalry, Skirmishers, Pikemen, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Chemisty (University)
          Attack, Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Padded Archer Armor, Leather Archer Armor, Ring Archer Armor
          Targeting - Ballistics (University), Thumb Ring (Archery Range)
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith (Monestery)



Excels at killing other mounted units

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Knights, Cataphracts
Weak Vs: Infantry, Archers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Heavy and quick.

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Archers
Weak Vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Cataphract & Elite Cataphract

Byzantine unique unit created in Castle Age.  Heavily armored.  Attack bonus vs.

Created: Castle
Strong Vs: Archers, Swordsmen
Weak Vs: Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Heavy Cavalry

Excels at killing other mounted units

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Knights, Cataphracts
Weak Vs: Infantry, Archers
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Hussar - TC ONLY

Stronger than Light Cavalry; attack bonus vs. Monks; resistant to conversion.

Created at: Stable
Strong vs: Archers, Cavalry Archers, Siege Weapons, Monks
Weak vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Hit Points - Bloodlines (Stable)
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)


Heavy and quick.

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Archers
Weak Vs: Pikemen, mamelukes, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Light Cavalry

Fast with greater line of sight than Scout Cavalry; resistant to conversion.

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Archers, Mangonels, Cavalry Archers, Bombard Cannons, Monks
Weak Vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Mameluke & Elite Mameluke

Saracen unique unit created in Castle Age.  Camel with ranged attack.  Excels vs.
other mounted units.

Created: Castle
Strong Vs: Monks, Barracks Units, Teutonic Knights
Weak Vs: Archers, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)


Heavy and quick.

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Archers
Weak Vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Scout Cavalry

Fast with extensive sight; resistant to conversion.

Created: Stable
Strong Vs: Archers, Mangonels, Cavalry Archers, Bombard Cannons, Monks
Weak Vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

Tarkan & Elite Tarkan - TC ONLY

Hun unique unit.  Cavalry that is particularly effective against buildings,
making Tarkans excelent vandals.

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Buildings, Archers, Mangonels, Cavalry Archers, Siege Weapons, Monks
Weak vs: Pikemen, Knights, Camels
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Hit Points - Bloodlines (Stable)
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)

War Elephant & Elite War Elephant

Persian unique unit created in Castle Age.  Slow, powerful, well armored, and
difficult to destroy.  Elite War Elephant causes area off effect damage, can
hit several adjacent targets automatically.

Created: Castle
Strong Vs: Archers, Swordsmen
Weak Vs: Pikemen, Camels, Monks, Mamelukes
Upgrades: Attack - Forging, Iron Casting, Metallurgy (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, Plate Barding Armor
          Speed - Husbandry (Stable)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monestary)

                                 Siege Weapons

Battering Ram

Slow, lumbering; reduces enemy town to ruins.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Archers, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Barrack Units
Upgrades: Attack - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastary)

Bombard Cannon

Powerful mobile anti- building siege weapon.  Requires Chemistry.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Archers, Monks, Skirmishers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack Range - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastary)

Capped Ram

Slow, lumbering; reduces enemy towns to ruins.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Archers, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Stable Units
Upgrades: Attack - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastary)


Wheeled siege weapon used to attack a small mass of units.  Area of effect

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)


Wheeled siege weapon used to attack a small mass of units.  Area of effect

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Petard - TC ONLY

Demolition infantry unit armed with explosives.  Devastating to buildings;
ineffective against other units.

Created at: Castle
Strong vs: Buildings, Walls, Siege Weapons
Weak vs: Archers, Scorpions, Cavalry Archers, Mangonels
Upgrades: Attack - Siege Engineers (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)

Scorpion & Heavy Scorpion

Fires large arrow- like bolts.  Effective vs. large masses of units; shots hit
multiple units causing damage to all units they touch.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Archers, Monks
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Tracking - Ballistics (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastary)

Siege Onager

Wheeled siege weapon used to attack a small mass of units.  Area of effect
attack.  Siege Onagers can cut paths through forests.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Barracks Units, Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Siege Ram

Slow, lumbering; reduces enemy towns to ruins.

Built at: Siege Workshop
Strong Vs: Archers, Cavalry Archers
Weak Vs: Stable Units, Stable Units
Upgrades: Attack - Siege Engineers (University)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastary)


Powerful; destroys buildings, walls from a distance.  Canot fire on close units.
Must be packed to move, unpacked to attack.  Can cut paths through forests.

Built at: Castle
Strong Vs: Archers, Skirmishers
Weak Vs: Swordsmen, Stable Units, Mangudai, Woad Raiders
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Siege Engineers (University)
          Unit creation speed - Conscription (Castle)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

To pack/unpack a Trebuchet: Click the Trebuchet, and then click the PACK or
UNPACK button.

To attack with a packed Trebuchet: Click the Trebuchet, and then right- click an
enemy target.  The Trebuchet moves within range of the enemy target, unpacks,
and begins attacking.


Cannon Galleon & Elite Cannon Galleon

Long- range warship used to attack targets on shore to establish a beachhead.
Fires slowly, with minimum range.  Requires Chemistry.

Built at: Dock
Weak Vs: Galleys, Fire Ships, Demolition Ships
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Demolition Ship & Heavy Demolition Ship

Filled with explosives.  Pilot near enemy ships and detonate to wrest control of
the sea from an entrenched opponent.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Fire Ships
Weak Vs: Galleys, Longboats, Bombard Cannons
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Fire Ship & Fast Fire Ship

Spew fire at other ships.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Galleys, Longboats
Weak Vs: Demolition Ships
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Fishing Ship

Gathers food from jumping fish and Fist Traps; automatically returns fish to
Dock.  Can build Fish Traps.

Built at: Dock
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)


Improved combat ship.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Demolition Ships, Cannon Galleons
Weak Vs: Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)


Small, basic, fast ship with weak attack.  Scouts water for early attacks and
enemy fishing fleets.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Demolition Ships, Cannon Galleons
Weak Vs: Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Longboat & Elite Longboat

Viking unique unit created in Castle Age.  Vikings are the only civilization to
possess two unique units.  The Viking Longboat may be built at a Dock once a
Viking Castle has been built.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Demolition Ships, Cannon Galleons
Weak Vs: Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Trade Cog

Trades by sea; takes goods from your Dock to a foreign Dock and brings back gold.
The farther the Dock, the higher your profit.

Built at: Dock
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

To trade using a Trade Cog: Click the Trade Cog, and then right- click a foreign

Transport Ship

Moves units across water.

Built at: Dock
Upgrades: Armor and Capacity - Careening (Dock)
          Speed and Capacity - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

Turtle Ship & Elite Turtle Ship - TC ONLY

Korean unique unit.  Slow, heavily armored battleship; effective for destroying
other ships at close range.  The Turtle Ship may be built at a Dock once a
Korean Castle has been built. (The Koreans have two unique units; the other is
the War Wagon, an archery unit.)

Built at: Dock
Strong vs: Fire SHips, Demolition Ships
Weak vs: Bombard Cannons, Monks
Upgrades: Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Units resist enemy Monks, Missionaries - Faith, Heresy (Monestery)

War Galley

Medium combat ship.

Built at: Dock
Strong Vs: Demolition Ships, Cannon Galleons
Weak Vs: Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons
Upgrades: Attack - Chemistry (University)
          Attack Range - Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Bracer (Blacksmith)
          Armor - Careening (Dock)
          Speed - Dry Dock (Dock)
          Targeting - Ballistics (University)
          Lower Cost - Shipwright (Dock)
          Your units resistant to other Monks - Faith (Monastery)

 5.                               Technologies


Blast Furnace

Blast Furnace increases the attach strength of your infantry and cavalry units
even more than Iron Casting

Bodkin Arrow

Bodkin Arrow increases the attack strength and range of scorpions, Archery
Range units, towers, Town Center, Castle, and ships (except those using
gunpowder weapons).


Bracer increases the attack strength and range of scorpions, Archery Range
units, towers, Town Center, Castle, and ships (except those using gunpowder

Chain Barding Armor

Chain Barding Armor increases the armor of your cavalry unite even more than
Scale Barding Armor.

Chain Mail Armor

Chain Mail Armor increases the armor of your infantry units even more than Scale
Mail Armor.


Fletching increases the attack strength and range of scorpions, Archery Range
units, towers, Town Center, Castle, and ships (except those using gunpowder

Iron Casting

Iron Casting increases the attack strength of your infantry and cavalry units
even more than Forging.

Leather Archer Armor

Leather Archer Armor increases the armor of your archers even more than Padded
Archer Armor.

Padded Archer Armor

Padded Archer Armor increases the armor of your archers.

Plate Barding Armor

Plate Barding Armor increases the armor of your cavalry units even more than
Chain Barding Armor.

Plate Mail Armor

Plate Mail Armor increases the armor of your infantry units even more than
Chain Mail Armor.

Ring Archer Armor

Ring Archer Armor increases the armor of your archers even more than Leather
Archer Armor.

Scale Barding Armor

Scale Barding Armor increases the armor of your cavalry units, including Cavalry
Archers, Mangudai, and War Elephants.

Scale Mail Armor

Scale Mail Armor increases the armor of your infantry units.


Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation increases the amount of food your Farms produce even more than the
Heavy Plow.

Heavy Plow

Heavy Plow increases the amount of food your Farms produce even more than Horse

Horse Collar

Horse Collar increases the amount of food your Farms produce before they go
fallow and must be rebuilt.



Architecture makes your buildings even stronger than Masonry.


Ballistics improves how accurate scorpions, archers, galleys, and towers are in
hitting moving targets.


Chemistry increases the attack strength of all non- gunpowder missile weapons.
You must research Chemistry to build gunpowder units (Bombard Tower, Bombard
Cannon, Hand Cannoneer, and Cannon Galleon).  After researching Chemistry,
missile weapons fire flaming arrows.

Heated Shot

Heated Shot increases the damage towers cause to ships.


Masonry makes your buildings stronger so they can take more damage in combat.

Murder Holes

Murder Holes eliminates the minimum range of towers (except Bombard Towers) and
Castles so they can fire at soldiers attacking their base.

Siege Engineers

Siege Engineers increases the damage siege weapons cause to buildings as well
as range.

Treadmill Crane

Treadmill Crane makes villagers construct buildings faster.



Atonement lets your Monks convert enemy Monks.

Block Lettering

Block Printing lets your Monks convert enemy units from farther away.


Faith makes your units harder for enemy Monks to convert.


Fervor makes your Monks move faster.

Herbal Medicine - TC ONLY

Herbal Medicine increases the healing speed of units garrisoned units inside

Heresy - TC ONLY

Heresy causes units to die instead of being converted by an enemy Monk or
Missionary.  You still lose the unit, but your enemy doesn't get it.


Illumination decreases the time your Monks need to rest before attempting
another conversion.


Redemption lets your Monks convert enemy buildings (except Town Centers, Castles,
Monestaries, Farms, Fish Traps, walls, towers, Gates, and Wonders) and siege
weapons.  Monks can convert most enemy units from a distance; however, they must
stand adjacent to buildings, rams, and Trebuchets.


Sanctity increases the hit points of your Monks.

Theocracy - TC ONLY

When a group of Monks (or Missionaries) converts an enemy unit, only one Monk
loses its faith and must rest before attempting another conversion.  Greatly
enhances the power of a group of Monks and redices micro-management.



Squires make your infantry units move faster.


Tracking lets your infantry units see farther away.

                                  Town Center

Hand Cart

Hand Cart makes villagers move faster and carry more resources.


Loom makes your villagers harder to kill.

Town Patrol

Town Patrol lets your buildings see enemies from even farther away than Town

Town Watch

Town Watch lets your buildings see enemies farther away so you have more warning
of their approach.


Wheelbarrow makes your villagers move faster and carry more resources so they
work more efficiently.


Anarchy - TC ONLY - Goths Only

Anarchy allows Huskarls to be created at the Barracks.

Artillery - TC ONLY - Turks Only

Artillery increases the range of Bombard Towers, Bombard Canons, and Cannon

Atheism - TC ONLY - Huns Only

Atheism makes Relic and Wonder victories take longer for all players and reduces
the cost of Spies technology.

Bearded Axe - TC ONLY - Franks Only

Bearded Axe increases the range of Throwing Axemen.

Berserkergang - TC ONLY - Vikings Only

Berserkergang improves the regeneration rate of Berserks.


Conscription decreases the time required to create units at the Barracks, Stable,
Archery Range, and Castle.

Crenellations - TC ONLY - Spanish Only

Crenellations increases the range of Castles and increases the attack of Castles,
Towers, and Town Centers by allowing garrisoned infantry to fire arrows as if
they were villagers.

Drill - TC ONLY - Mangonels Only

Drill increases the movement speed of Siege Workshop units.

El Dorado - TC ONLY - Mayans Only

El Dorado inceases the hit points of Eagle Warriors.

Furor Celtica - TC ONLY - Celts Only

Furor Celtica increases the hit points of Siege Workshop units.

Garland Wars - TC ONLY - Aztecs Only

Garland Wars increases the attack of all infantry.


Hoardings make your Castles stronger.

Kataparuto - TC ONLY - Japanese Only

Kataparuto makes Trebuchets fire and pack/un-pack faster.

Logistica - TC ONLY - Byzantines Only

Logistica gives Cataphracts trample damage.

Mahouts - TC ONLY - Persians Only

Mahouts increases the speed of War Elephants.

Perfusion - TC ONLY - Goths Only

Perfusion increases the creation speed of Barracks units.

Rocketry - TC ONLY - Chinese Only

Rocketry increases the piercing attack of Chu Ko Nu and scorpions.


Sappers increases the damage villagers cause when they attack buildings.

Shinkichon - TC ONLY - Koreans Only

Shinkichon increases the range of Mangonels.


Spies lets you see what your enemies have explored and share their unit line of
sight.  You can purchase the Spies technology for gold.  By paying a fee
dependent on the number of enemy villagers in existence, you can learn the exact
location of each unit and building still in play.

Supremacy - TC ONLY - Spanish Only

Supremacy increases the combat skills of villagers, which makes them good
front-line builders.

Yeomen - TC ONLY - Britons Only

Yeomen increases the range of archers and the attack of towers.

Zealotry - TC ONLY - Saracens Only

Zealotry increases the hit points of camels and Mamelukes.

                                  Mining Camp

Gold Mining

Gold Mining makes villagers mine gold faster.

Gold Shaft Mining

Gold Shaft Mining makes villagers mine gold even faster than Gold Mining.

Stone Mining

Stone Mining makes villagers mine stone faster.

Stone Shaft Mining

Stone Shaft Mining makes villagers mine stone even faster than Stone Mining.

                                  Lumber Camp

Double- Bit Axe

Double- Bit Axe makes villagers chop wood faster.

Bow Saw

Bow Saw makes villagers chop wood even faster than Double- Bit Axe.

Two- Man Saw

Two- Man Saw makes villagers chop wood even faster than the Bow Saw.



Banking eliminates the cost of sending a tribute to resources to another player.

Caravan - TC ONLY

Caravan increases the speed of Trade Carts and Trade Cogs so they gather gold


Cartography lets you share exploration and unit line of sight with your allies
so you see what they have explored. (Before your allies see what you've explored,
they must research Cartography, too.)


Coinage decreases the cost of sending a tribute of resources to another player.


Guilds reduces the cost of buying and selling resources at the Market.


Bloodlines - TC ONLY

Bloodlines increases the hit points of all mounted units.


Husbandry increases spped of all cavalry units.



Careening increases the pierce armor of ships and the number of units Transport
Ships can carry.

Dry Dock

Dry Dock makes your ships faster and increases the number of units Transport
Ships can carry.


Shipwright decreases the amount of wood required to build ships.

                                 Archery Range

Parthian Tactics - TC ONLY

Parthian Tactics increases the normal and piercing armor of mounted archers.

Thumb Ring - TC ONLY

Thumb Ring increases the rate of fire and accuracy of archers.

 6.                                 History


Political control of the populous and agriculturally rich central valley of
Mexico fell into confusion after 1100. Gradually assuming ever-greater power
were the Aztecs, probably a northern tribe that had migrated to the valley and
occupied a minor town on the shore of the great central lake. They were a
society that valued the skills of warriors above all others, and this emphasis
gave them an advantage against rival tribes in the region. By the end of the
15th century, the Aztecs controlled all of central Mexico as a military empire
that collected tribute from rivals.

The Aztec culture drew upon the experience of those that came before it and
invented little that was new. They had an advanced agriculture that supported a
very large population. They built immense buildings of grand design and
flourished in many arts. They were adept metal workers, but had no iron.
Lacking any suitable draft animal, they made no motive use of the wheel.

One of the distinctive features of the Aztec culture was its penchant for
sacrifice. Aztec myths dictated that human blood be fed to the Sun to give it
the strength to rise each day. Human sacrifices were conducted on a grand scale;
several thousand in a single day were not uncommon. Victims were often
decapitated or flayed, and hearts were cut from living victims. Sacrifices were
conducted at the top of tall pyramids to be close to the sun and blood flowed
down the steps. Although the Aztec economy was based primarily on corn
(or maize), the people believed that crops depended on the regular provision
of sacrificial blood.

The incessant demand for sacrificial victims meant that the Aztecs tolerated
loose control over satellite cities because frequent revolts offered
opportunities for capturing new victims. During times of peace, "garland wars"
were arranged strictly as contests of courage and warrior skill, and for the
purpose of capturing victims. They fought with wooden clubs to maim and stun,
rather than kill. When fighting to kill, the clubs were studded with obsidian

Despite their great agriculture and arts, the Aztecs appear in retrospect to
have been a waning society. They passed on no significant technology or ideas
of religion or political theory. Their civilization was brought to an abrupt
end by the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century. Already devastated
by European disease passed by early traders, they fell to a small Spanish army
armed with steel weapons, firearms, and riding a few horses. The cruelty of the
Aztecs contributed to their downfall by making it easy for the Spanish to enlist
allies among the non-Aztecs in Mexico.


Following the withdrawal of the Roman legions to Gaul (modern France) around
400, the British Isles fell into a very dark period of several centuries from
which almost no written records survive. The Romano-British culture that had
existed under 400 years of Roman rule disappeared under relentless invasion and
migration by barbarians. Celts came over from Ireland (a tribe called the Scotti
gave their name to the northern part of the main island, Scotland). Saxons and
Angles came from Germany, Frisians from modern Holland, and Jutes from modern
Denmark. By 600, the Angles and Saxons controlled most of modern England. By
800, only modern Wales, Scotland, and West Cornwall remained in largely Celtic

The new inhabitants were called Anglo-Saxons (from the Angles and Saxons). The
Angles gave their name to the new culture (England from Angle-land), and the
Germanic language they brought with them, English, replaced the native Celtic
and previously imported Latin. Despite further invasions and even a complete
military conquest at a later date, the southern and eastern parts of the largest
British Isle have been called England (and its people and language English) ever

In 865 the relative peace of England was shattered by a new invasion. Danish
Vikings who had been raiding France and Germany formed a great army and turned
their attention on the English. Within 10 years, most of the Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms had fallen or surrendered. Only the West Saxons (modern Wessex) held
out under Alfred, the only English ruler to be called "the Great."

England was divided among the Vikings, the West Saxons, and a few other English
kingdoms for nearly 200 years. The Viking half was called the Danelaw ("under
Danish law"). The Vikings collected a large payment, called the Danegeld ("the
Dane's gold"), to be peaceful. The Danes became Christians and gradually became
more settled. In time the English turned on the Danes, and in 954 the last
Viking king of York was killed. England was united for the first time under an
English king from Wessex.

In 1066 the Witan ("king's council") offered the crown to Harold, son of the
Earl of Wessex. Two others claimed the throne: Harald Hardrada (meaning "the
hard ruler"), King of Norway, and Duke William of Normandy. The Norwegian landed
first, near York, but was defeated by Harold at the battle of Stamford Bridge.
Immediately after the victory, Harold force-marched his army south to meet
William at Hastings. The battle seesawed back and forth all day, but near dusk
Harold was mortally wounded by an arrow in the eye. Over the next two years,
William, now "the Conqueror," solidified his conquest of England.

During the remainder of the Middle Ages, the successors of William largely
exhausted themselves and their country in a series of confrontations and wars
attempting to expand or defend land holdings in France. The Hundred Years War
between England and France was an on-and-off conflict that stretched from 1337
to 1453. It was triggered by an English king's claim to the throne of France,
thanks to family intermarriages. The war was also fought over control of the
lucrative wool trade and French support for Scotland's independence. The early
part of the war featured a string of improbable, yet complete, English
victories, thanks usually to English longbowmen mowing down hordes of ornately
armored French knights from long range.

The English could not bring the war to closure, however, and the French rallied.
Inspired by Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who professed divine guidance, the
French fought back, ending the war with the capture of Bordeaux in 1453. The
English were left holding only Calais on the mainland (and not for long).


The Byzantines took their name from Byzantium, an ancient city on the Bosphorus,
the strategic waterway linking the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. The Roman
Emperor Constantine had renamed this city Constantinople in the fourth century
and made it a sister capital of his empire. This eastern partition of the Roman
Empire outlived its western counterpart by a thousand years, defending Europe
against invasions from the east by Persians, Arabs, and Turks. The Byzantines
persevered because Constantinople was well defended by walls and the city could
be supplied by sea. At their zenith in the sixth century, the Byzantines covered
much of the territories of the original Roman Empire, lacking only the Iberian
Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), Gaul (modern France), and Britain. The
Byzantines also held Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, but by the middle of the
seventh century they had lost them to the Arabs. From then on their empire
consisted mainly of the Balkans and modern Turkey.

The first great Byzantine emperor was Justinian I (482 to 565). His ambition was
to restore the old Roman Empire and he nearly succeeded. His instrument was the
greatest general of the age, Belisarius, who crisscrossed the empire defeating
Persians to the East, Vandals in North Africa, Ostrogoths in Italy, and Bulgars
and Slavs in the Balkans. In addition to military campaigns, Justinian laid the
foundation for the future by establishing a strong legal and administrative
system and by defending the Christian Church.

The Byzantine economy was the richest in Europe for many centuries because
Constantinople was ideally sited on trade routes between Asia, Europe, the Black
Sea, and the Aegean Sea. It was an important destination point for the Silk Road
from China. The nomisma, the principal Byzantine gold coin, was the standard for
money throughout the Mediterranean for 800 years. Constantinople's strategic
position eventually attracted the envy and animosity of the Italian city-states.

A key strength of the Byzantine Empire was its generally superior army that drew
on the best elements of the Roman, Greek, Gothic, and Middle Eastern experience
in war. The core of the army was a shock force of heavy cavalry supported by
both light infantry (archers) and heavy infantry (armored swordsmen). The army
was organized into units and drilled in tactics and maneuvers. Officers received
an education in military history and theory. Although outnumbered usually by
masses of untrained warriors, it prevailed thanks to intelligent tactics and
good discipline. The army was backed by a network of spies and secret agents
that provided information about enemy plans and could be used to bribe or
otherwise deflect aggressors.

The Byzantine navy kept the sea-lanes open for trade and kept supply lines free
so the city could not be starved into submission when besieged. In the eighth
century, a land and sea attack by Arabs was defeated largely by a secret weapon,
Greek fire. This chemical weapon, its composition now unknown, was a sort of
liquid napalm that could be sprayed from a hose. The Arab navy was devastated at
sea by Greek fire.

In the seventh and eighth centuries, the Arabs overran Egypt, the Middle East,
North Africa, and Spain, removing these areas permanently from Byzantine
control. A Turkish victory at Manzikert in 1071 led to the devastation of Asia
Minor, the empire's most important source of grain, cattle, horses, and
soldiers. In 1204 Crusaders led by the Doge of Venice used treachery to sack and
occupy Constantinople.

In the fourteenth century, the Turks invaded Europe, capturing Adrianople and
bypassing Constantinople. They settled the Balkans in large numbers and defeated
a large crusader army at Nicopolis in 1396. In May 1453, Turkish sultan Mehmet
II captured a weakly defended Constantinople with the aid of heavy cannon. The
fall of the city brought the Byzantine Empire to an end.


The Celts (pronounced "kelts") were the ancient inhabitants of Northern Europe
and the builders of Stonehenge 5000 years ago. Julius Caesar had battled them
during his conquest of Gaul. The Romans eventually took most of Britain and the
Iberian Peninsula from them as well. At the end of the ancient Roman Empire, the
Celts occupied only parts of northwestern France, Ireland, Wales, and parts of
Scotland. During the course of the Middle Ages, they strengthened their hold on
Scotland and made several attempts to take more of England.

The Irish remained in small bands during the early Middle Ages. By 800 the four
provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster had risen to power under
"high kings." Viking raids began in 795 and then Viking settlements were
established in the middle ninth century. The most important of these was at
Dublin. Brian Boru became the first high king of all Ireland around 1000. In
1014 the Irish defeated the Danes of Dublin at Clontarf, although Brian Boru was

An Irish tribe called the Scotti invaded what is now southern Scotland during
the early Middle Ages, settling permanently and giving the land its name. They
pushed back and absorbed the native Picts who had harassed the Romans to the
south. The Scottish kingdom took its present shape during the eleventh century
but attracted English interference. The Scots responded with the "auld (old)
alliance" with France, which became the foundation of their diplomacy for
centuries to come. Edward I of England (Longshanks, or "hammer of the Scots")
annexed Scotland in 1296.

William Wallace (Braveheart) led a revolt of Scotland, winning virtual
independence at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Defeated the next year at
Falkirk, Wallace waged a guerrilla war until he was betrayed, captured, and
executed in 1305. Robert the Bruce declared himself king of Scotland after
murdering his main rival. He drove out the English, winning the battle of
Bannockburn in 1314. Edward III of England recognized Scotland's independence in
1328, but war between the Scots and English carried on for several centuries.
The crowns of the two countries were united in 1603, long after the Middle Ages
were over.

No prince in Wales proved strong enough to unite the country. In the late
thirteenth century, Edward I took over the government of Gwynedd, one of the
strongest Welsh principalities in Wales. He proceeded to build five great
castles in Wales, effectively placing the country under English rule.


China was reunited in 581 AD after a long period of internal war by the founders
of the Sui dynasty. For most of the 1000 years that followed, China was one of
the largest and most advanced civilization in the world. Because of its
geographic isolation from the West, it was able to develop and maintain a unique
culture that spread its influence over much of Asia.

An emperor generally held supreme power as the son of heaven. Natural disasters
or other calamities were taken as proof that the mandate of heaven had been
withdrawn, however, and could justify revolt. Mandarins were conservative civil
servants who operated most of the government at the local, province, and
imperial level. Mandarins earned their positions by passing detailed civil
service examinations based mainly on the works of Confucius.

The T'ang dynasty ruled China from 618 to 907. China under the T'ang was large,
wealthy, and powerful. There was extensive foreign trade and interest in the
arts among the upper class. Printing and gunpowder were invented. The last 100
years of T'ang rule witnessed tumultuous peasant revolts, however, and wars
between local military rulers that the imperial court could not end. The years
from 907 to 960 were known as the Five Dynasties period. Northern China was held
by barbarians, and southern China split into 10 rival states. From one of these,
an army general named Zhao Kuang-ying seized power and unified the southern
states, founding the Song dynasty. His descendants reunited China within 20

The Song dynasty ruled at least part of China until 1279. This was another
period of cultural brilliance, and it was considered the great age of Chinese
landscape painting. There was a dramatic improvement in economic activity,
including a large overseas trade. Population and cities grew, food production
grew faster than population, a money economy developed, and industrial output
increased. No city in Europe could approach the populations of Chang An,
Beijing, and Guang Zhou, all with more than 2 million inhabitants.

The wealth of China attracted enemies, however, and the Mongols began attacks in
1206. By 1279 they had completed the conquest of Song China and moved the
capital to Beijing. The dramatic economic improvement of the Song dynasty ended
with the Mongol conquests and the estimated 30 million deaths that they caused.
The Mongol Yuan dynasty reunited China and reestablished it as a great military
and world power. Chinese influence was spread into Asia. Hanoi was captured
three times and tribute was extracted from Burma. Trade with India, Arabia, and
the Persian Gulf was developed. Marco Polo visited China during this period.

Natural disasters and higher taxes in the fourteenth century caused rural
rebellions. A Buddhist monk rose to be one of the leaders of the Red Turbans, a
secret society opposed to the emperor in Beijing. The rebels seized Nanjing in
1356 and drove the Mongols from Beijing 12 years later, establishing the Ming
dynasty. The Ming presided over another cultural flowering and established a
political unity that outlasted the Ming and continued into the twentieth
century. The Ming clamped down a strict conservatism and isolation, however,
discouraging change and innovation, banning foreign travel, and closing the Silk

Some of the most noteworthy aspects of medieval China are the technologies that
were invented there, usually many centuries before a similar technology was
invented in, or transmitted to, the West. Important Chinese inventions included
the compass, the wheelbarrow, the abacus, the horse harness, the stirrup, the
clock, iron-casting, steel, paper, moveable type (printing), paper money,
gunpowder, and the stern-post rudder.


The Franks were one of the Germanic barbarian tribes known to the Romans. In the
early part of the fifth century, they began expanding south from their homeland
along the Rhine River into Roman-controlled Gaul (modern France). Unlike other
Germanic tribes, however, they did not move out of their homelands but, rather,
added to them. Clovis, a Frankish chieftan, defeated the last Roman armies in
Gaul and united the Franks by 509, becoming the ruler of much of western Europe.
During the next 1000 years, this Frankish kingdom gradually became the modern
nation of France.

The kingdom of Clovis was divided after his death among his four sons, according
to custom. This led to several centuries of civil warfare and struggle between
successive claimants to the throne. By the end of the seventh century, the
Merovingian kings (descendants of Clovis) were rulers in name only. In the early
eighth century, Charles Martel became mayor of the palace, the ruler behind the
throne. He converted the Franks into a cavalry force and fought so well that his
enemies gave him the name of Charles the Hammer. In 732 the Frankish cavalry
defeated Muslim invaders moving north from Spain at the Battle of Poitiers,
stopping forever the advance of Islam from the southwest.

Charles Martel's son, Pepin, was made king of the Franks by the pope in return
for helping to defend Italy from the Lombards. Pepin founded the dynasty of the
Carolingians, and the greatest of these rulers was Charles the Great, or
Charlemagne, who ruled from 768 to 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an
empire and was responsible for a rebirth of culture and learning in the West.
Charlemagne's empire was divided among his grandsons and thereafter coalesced
into two major parts. The western part became the kingdom of France. Later kings
gradually lost political control of France, however. Central authority broke
down under the pressure of civil wars, border clashes, and Viking raids. Money
and soldiers could be raised only by making concessions to landholders. Fiefs
became hereditary and fief holders became feudal lords over their own vassals.
By the tenth century, France had been broken into feudal domains that acted as
independent states.

In 987 the French nobility elected Hugh Capet their king, mainly because his
fief centered on Paris was weak and he was thought to pose no threat. He founded
the Capetian line of kings, who worked slowly for two centuries regaining the
power by making royal roads safe, adding land to their domain, encouraging
trade, and granting royal charters for new towns and fiefs in vacant lands. By
allying themselves with the church, the Capetians took a strong moral position
and benefited from the church's cultural, political, and social influence. Royal
administrators were made loyal to the king and more efficient by eliminating the
inheritance of government offices.

Beginning with Philip II in 1180, three superior rulers established France as
one of the most important nations in Europe. They improved the working of the
government, encouraged a booming trade, collected fees efficiently, and
strengthened their position atop the feudal hierarchy. Although a national
assembly called the Estates General was established, it held no real power and
was successfully ignored.

From 1337 to 1453 France and England fought the long conflict called the Hundred
Years War to decide ownership of lands in France that had been inherited by
English kings. The eventual French victory confirmed the king as the most
powerful political force in France.


The Goths were a Germanic tribe on the Danube River frontier known to the Romans
from the first century AD. Pressured and then displaced when the Huns moved west
out of Central Asia, the Goths moved west into Europe and over the Danube River
to escape the oncoming hordes. After taking part in the fall of Rome, they vied
with other barbarians for the leavings of the Western Roman Empire during the
Early Middle Ages.

The Goths originated on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to the best of our
knowledge, and split into two groups as they migrated south across Central
Europe. The Visigoths, or West Goths, settled in modern Romania during the
second century. The Ostrogoths, or East Goths, settled farther to the east on
the northwest coast of the Black Sea. In 376 AD the Visigoths were driven from
modern Romania by the Huns and moved south across the Danube. Their strength was
estimated at 60,000 men, women, and children. They defeated a Roman army from
Constantinople, settled briefly south of the Danube, and then pushed into Italy.
In 409 they sacked Rome under their king Alaric and then moved north into Gaul.
The Romans gave them southwestern Gaul. From there they eventually extended
their rule into all of modern Spain and Portugal.

The Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnish rule and followed their cousins into
Italy late in the fifth century. They were encouraged to invade by the Eastern
emperor, who wanted deposed the barbarian then ruling as viceroy. Under
Theodric, king of modern Switzerland and the Balkans already, the Goths entered
Italy in 488, completing its conquest in 493.

Theodric's kingdom did not last long following his death in 526. Using a
struggle for succession as an excuse, the Byzantines sent an army to Italy in
536 led by their great general Belisarius. The Byzantines hoped to regain Italy
and restore the old Roman Empire in the West. The war dragged on, devastating
the countryside in conjunction with plague and famine. In 552 the Ostrogoths
were finally defeated in Italy. They ceased to exist as a separate group by the
late sixth century when northern Italy was invaded by a new group of barbarians
called the Lombards.

The Visigoth kingdom lasted somewhat longer. In the late fifth century Clovis of
the Franks pushed the Visigoths out of France and over the Pyrenees Mountains.
Following the death of Clovis his kingdom fragmented and the Visigoths were
temporarily left alone. In 711 a new threat appeared from the south. Islamic
armies crossed over from North Africa and destroyed the last Gothic kingdom in
four years.

The Goths are remembered for being the first to sack Rome and thereby beginning
the final collapse of the ancient world order in Europe. Their admiration for
Rome and attempts to preserve it, however, allowed much of the Roman culture to
survive. For example, the modern languages of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal,
and Romania are derived from Latin influenced by later settlers. They are not
variations of German, as was the case in England.


The Huns were a nomadic people from around Mongolia in Central Asia that began
migrating toward the west in the third century, probably due to climatic change.
They were a horse people and very adept at mounted warfare, both with spears
and bows. Moving with their families and great herds of horses and domesticated
animals they migrated in search of new grasslands to settle. Due to their
military prowess and discipline, they proved unstoppable, displacing all in
their path. They set in motion a tide of migration before them as other peoples
moved to get out of their way. This domino effect of large populations passed
around the hard nut of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire to spill
over the Danube and Rhine Rivers, and ultimately overwhelm the Western Roman
Empire by 476.

Finding lands to their liking, the Huns settled on the Hungarian plain in
Eastern Europe, making their headquarters at the city of Szeged on the Tisza
River. They needed large expanses of grasslands to provide forage for their
horses and other animals. From this area of plains the Huns controlled through
alliance or conquest an empire eventually stretching from the Ural Mountains in
Russia to the Rhτne River in France.

The Huns were superb horsemen, trained from childhood, and some believe they
invented the stirrup, critical for increasing the fighting power of a mounted
man charging with a couched lance. They inspired terror in enemies due to the
speed at which they could move, changing ponies several times a day to maintain
their advance. A second advantage was their recurved composite bow, far superior
to anything used in the West. Standing in their stirrups, they could fire
forward, to the sides, and to the rear. Their tactics featured surprise,
lightning attacks, and the ensuing terror. They were an army of light cavalry
and their political structure required a strong leader to hold them to a

The peak of Hun power came during the rule of Attila, who became a leader of
the Huns in 433 and began a series of raids into south Russia and Persia. He
then turned his attention to the Balkans, causing sufficient terror and havoc
on two major raids to be bribed to leave. In 450 he turned to the Western
Empire, crossing the Rhine north of Mainz with perhaps 100,000 warriors.
Advancing on a front of 100 miles, he sacked most of the towns in what is now
northern France. The Roman general Aetius raised a Gallo-Roman army and
advanced against Attila, who was besieging the city of Orleans. At the major
battle of Chalτns, Attila was defeated, though not destroyed.

The defeat at Chalτns is considered one of the decisive battles of history, one
that could have meant collapse of the Christian religion in Western Europe and
perhaps domination of the area by Asian peoples.

Attila then invaded Italy, seeking new plunder. As he passed into Italy,
refugees escaped to the islands off the coast, founding, according to tradition,
the city of Venice. Though Roman forces were depleted and their main army still
in Gaul, the Huns were weak as well, depleted by incessant campaigns, disease,
and famine in Italy. At a momentous meeting with Pope Leo I, Attila agreed to

The Hun empire disintegrated following the death of Attila in 453 with no strong
leader of his ability to hold it together. Subject peoples revolted and factions
within their group fought each other for dominance. They eventually disappeared
under a tide of new invaders, such as the Avars, and disappeared from history.


Located 100 miles off the mainland of Asia, at its closest point, Japan was a
land of mystery at the edge of civilization. Isolated at first by geography and
later by choice, the Japanese developed a distinctive culture that drew very
little from the outside world. At the beginning of what were the Middle Ages in
Europe, the advanced culture of Japan was centered at the north end of the
Inland Sea on the main island of Honshu. Across the Hakone Mountains to the east
lay the Kanto, an alluvial plain that was the single largest rice-growing area
on the islands. To the north and east of the Kanto was the frontier, beyond
which lived aboriginal Japanese who had occupied the islands since Neolithic

Some believe that by the fifth century AD the Yamato court had become largely
ceremonial. Independent clans, known as uji, held the real power behind
the throne. Clan leaders formed a sort of aristocracy and vied with each other
for effective control of land and the throne.

In 536 the Soga clan became predominant and produced the first great historical
statesman, Prince Shotoku, who instituted reforms that laid the foundation of
Japanese culture for generations to come. In 645, power shifted from the Soga
clan to the Fujiwara clan. The Fujiwara presided over most of the Heian period
(794 to 1185). The new leadership imposed the Taika Reform of 645, which
attempted to redistribute the rice-growing land, establish a tax on agricultural
production, and divide the country into provinces. Too much of the country
remained outside imperial influence and control, however. Real power shifted to
great families that rose to prominence in the rice-growing lands. Conflict among
these families led to civil war and the rise of the warrior class.

Similar to the experience of medieval western Europe, the breakdown of central
authority in Japan, the rise of powerful local nobles, and conflict with
barbarians at the frontier combined to create a culture dominated by a warrior
elite. These warriors became known as Samurai, ("those who serve"), who were
roughly equivalent to the European knight. A military government replaced the
nobility as the power behind the throne at the end of the twelfth century. The
head of the military government was the Shogun.

Samurai lived by a code of the warrior, something like the European code of
chivalry. The foundation of the warrior code was loyalty to the lord. The
warrior expected leadership and protection. In return he obeyed his lord's
commands without question and stood ready to die on his lord's behalf. A Samurai
placed great emphasis on his ancestry and strove to carry on family traditions.
He behaved so as to earn praise. He was to be firm and show no cowardice.
Warriors went into battle expecting and looking to die. It was felt that a
warrior hoping to live would fight poorly.

The Kamakura period (1185 to 1333) was named after a region of Japan dominated
by a new ruling clan that took power after civil war. The Mongols attempted to
invade Japan twice, in 1274 and 1281, but were repulsed both times. A fortuitous
storm caused great loss to the second Mongol invasion fleet.


When Europe fell into its Dark Age, Korea had been divided into three competing
kingdoms: Koguryo to the north, Paekche to the southwest, and Shilla to the
southeast. In alliance with China, Shilla conquered the other two kingdoms in
the 7th century and then expelled their erstwhile Chinese ally. The central
authority of Shilla disintegrated in the 8th-9th centuries, however, under
pressure from local lords. Korea was unified once again as Koryo in the 10th
century and after that, recovered territory reaching up to the Amnok River
border with China in 993. The civilian nobility was thrown out of power by a
military coup in 1170 and military rule then lasted for sixty years.

The Mongols invaded in 1231, initiating a 30-year struggle. The Mongols were
often distracted by their wars in China and elsewhere but eventually brought
enough power to bear that Koryo made peace with the invaders in 1258. Under the
Mongols the Koryo maintained their distinct culture and were inspired to
demonstrate their superiority to their conquerors through a burst of artistic

Land reform, the rise of a new bureaucracy, the diminishment of Buddhism, and
the rise of Confucianism around 1400 were part of the creation of a new kingdom,
the Choson, that would rule Korea until the 20th century. China heavily
influenced the Choson politically and culturally. Korea became an important
center of learning, aided by the invention of movable type and the woodblock
technique of publishing around 1234.

The greatest test of the Choson dynasty was invasion by samurai armies from
Japan in 1592 that ostensibly planned to conquer China. Although seven years
of fighting left much of the Korean peninsula devastated, the Japanese were
forced to withdraw because their fleets could not keep open sea lines of supply
and reinforcement back to Japan. The great Korean admiral Yi Sun-Shin defeated
the Japanese at sea. One key to the Korean naval victories was their innovative
turtle ships, the first cannon-bearing armored ships in history. The Japanese
had no answer for these slow but powerful weapons.


The Mayans occupied the Yucatan peninsula, modern Honduras, and modern
Guatemala. They date back perhaps to the second millennium BC, but peaked
between 600 and 900 AD. Though they lived on lands of marginal agricultural
value, they created monuments and ceremonial centers nearly as impressive as
those in Egypt. The extent of the ceremonial building is surprising because
their religion was relatively simple. Their architecture was also less
developed, though undeniably impressive, compared to contemporary advances
made elsewhere in the world. They invented a unique written language that is
only being deciphered today. Three Mayan books survive to the present, the
remnants of a much larger number destroyed by Europeans who feared they
contained heresy.

The Mayans were very proficient in mathematics and astronomy. The understanding
and predictability of star and planet movements was critical to the calculation
of their calendar and the dating of important ceremonies. They lived in small
hamlets that have not survived but congregated at their centers for important
events. Noble warriors and priests controlled their society.

The Mayans went into decline in the tenth century, perhaps due to earthquake or
volcanic eruption. Many of their important ceremonial sites were thereafter
abandoned. Warriors from central Mexico then invaded their territory and they
broke into small town groupings in the rain forest. The last Mayan center was
captured by the Spanish in the 17th century, but as many as two million people
of Mayan descent reside in the Yucatan today.


The Mongols were nomads from the steppes of Central Asia. They were fierce
warriors who fought each other over pasturelands and raided developed
civilizations to the east and south. At the beginning of the thirteenth century,
the Mongol clans united and began a campaign of foreign conquest. Following in
the hoofprints of the Huns, their predecessors by a thousand years, they carved
out one of the largest empires the world has yet seen.

The Mongols inhabited the plains south of Lake Baikal in modern Mongolia. At its
maximum, their empire stretched from Korea, across Asia, and into European
Russia to the Baltic Sea coast. They held most of Asia Minor, modern Iraq,
modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, parts of India, parts of Burma, all
of China, and parts of Vietnam.

The Mongol clans were united by Temuchin, called Genghis Khan ("mighty ruler"),
in the early thirteenth century. His ambition was to rule all lands between the
oceans (Pacific and Atlantic) and he nearly did so. Beginning with only an
estimated 25,000 warriors, he added strength by subjugating other nomads and
attacked northern China in 1211. He took Beijing in 1215 after a campaign that
may have cost 30 million Chinese lives. The Mongols then turned west, capturing
the great trading city Bukhara on the Silk Road in 1220. The city was burned to
the ground and the inhabitants murdered.

Following Genghis Khan's death in 1227, his son Ogedei completed the conquest of
northern China and advanced into Europe. He destroyed Kiev in 1240 and advanced
into Hungary. When Ogedei died on campaign in 1241, the entire army fell back to
settle the question of succession. Europe was spared as Mongol rulers
concentrated their efforts against the Middle East and southern China. Hulagu, a
grandson of Genghis, exterminated the Muslim "Assassins" and then took the
Muslim capital of Baghdad in 1258. Most of the city's 100,000 inhabitants were
murdered. In 1260 a Muslim army of Egyptian Mamelukes (warrior slaves of high
status) defeated the Mongols in present-day Israel, ending the Mongol threat to
Islam and its holy cities.

Kublai Khan, another grandson of Genghis, completed the conquest of China in
1279, establishing the Yuan dynasty. Attempted invasions of Japan were thrown
back with heavy loss in 1274 and 1281. In 1294 Kublai Khan died in China, and
Mongol power began to decline in Asia and elsewhere. In 1368 the Yuan dynasty in
China was overthrown in favor of the Ming.

In the 1370's a Turkish-Mongol warrior claiming descent from Genghis Khan fought
his way to leadership of the Mongol states of Central Asia and set out to
restore the Mongol Empire. His name was Timur Leng (Timur, "the Lame," or
Tamerlane to Europeans and the Prince of Destruction to Asians). With another
army of 100,000 or so horsemen, he swept into Russia and Persia, fighting mainly
other Muslims. In 1398 he sacked Delhi, murdering 100,000 inhabitants. He rushed
west defeating an Egyptian Mameluke army in Syria. In 1402 he defeated a large
Ottoman Turk army near modern Ankara. On the verge of destroying the Ottoman
Empire, he turned again suddenly. He died in 1405 while marching for China. He
preferred capturing wealth and engaged in wholesale slaughter, without pausing
to install stable governments in his wake. Because of this, the huge realm
inherited by his sons fell apart quickly after his death.


The Persian Empire had existed for many centuries when the Middle Ages began. It
had been reassembled following the conquest by Alexander in the fourth century
BC and the subsequent breakup of his empire in later centuries. The Persians had
been fighting the Romans since the third century AD.

The Persian Empire stretched from Mesopotamia to India and from the Caspian Sea
to the Persian Gulf, encompassing the modern nations of Iraq, Iran, and
Afghanistan. They fought the Romans, and later the Byzantines, for control of
modern Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Arabia. The capital of the
Persian Empire was Ctesiphon, called Baghdad today.

During the third and fourth centuries, the Romans made several attempts to
subdue the Persians. In 364 a peace treaty was signed between the two that
allowed the Persians to consolidate their power to the east and north. Beginning
with the sixth century, the Persians began attacking the Byzantine Empire in
Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and modern Turkey. The war between the two powers went
back and forth. In 626 the Persians besieged Byzantium itself without success,
and the Byzantines were able to invade Persia the following year. Peace was made
between the two exhausted empires in 628.

The Persians were unprepared for the fury of the Islamic Arabs in the seventh
century. The Sassanid dynasty of Persia ended in battle in 636. The Persians did
not have a capital with defenses comparable to those of Constantinople. Muslim
conquest of Persia was complete by 651.


The name Saracen applied originally to nomadic desert peoples from the area
stretching from modern Syria to Saudi Arabia. In broader usage the name applied
to all Arabs of the Middle Ages. These desert nomads erupted suddenly in the
seventh century and established a far-reaching empire within a century and a
half. Their conquest was fueled by faith and high morale. Following the
teachings of the prophet Mohammed, their intent was to change the religious and
political landscape of the entire planet.

By 613 the prophet Mohammed was preaching a new religion he called Islam.
Largely ignored in his home city of Mecca, he withdrew to Medina, built up a
strong following there, and returned to attack and capture Mecca. Following his
death in 632, his teachings were collected to form the Koran, the Islamic holy
book. In 634 his followers began their jihad, or holy war. Within five years
they had overrun Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Their tolerance of Jews and
Christians eased their conquest because these people had been suffering some
persecution under the Byzantines.

In the next 60 years, both North Africa to the west and Persia to the east fell
to Islam. In the early eighth century, Saracens from Tangiers invaded the
Iberian Peninsula and conquered the Visigoth kingdom established there after the
fall of Rome. In Asia they took Asia Minor from the Byzantines and attempted to
capture Constantinople with a combined attack from land and sea. The great walls
of the city frustrated the land attack and the Saracen fleet was defeated at
sea. In the west, Charles Martel of the Franks stopped a Saracen invasion of
modern France in 732 at Poitiers.

Frustrated in the west, the forces of Islam turned east. By 750 they had
conquered to the Indus River and north over India into Central Asia to the
borders of China.

In 656 the Muslim world fell into civil war between two factions, the Sunnites
and the Shiites. They differed on several points, including who should be caliph
and interpretation of the Koran. The result of the 60-year war was that the
Islamic state broke into pieces, some governed by Sunnites (the Iberian
Peninsula) and others by Shiites (Egypt and modern Iraq). The new Islamic states
acted independently, thereafter.

Muslim Spain developed into one of the great states of Europe during the early
Middle Ages. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in relative harmony,
and a rich culture rose out of these multiple influences. There was a flowering
of the arts, architecture, and learning. By 1000, however, Muslim Spain had
divided into warring factions. This civil war facilitated the slow reconquest of
the peninsula (the Reconquista) by the emerging states of Castile and Aragon,
completed finally in 1492.

Asia Minor and the Middle East were conquered by Muslim Turks in the early
eleventh century. In response to a call for aid from the Byzantines, a series of
Crusades was launched from Europe to regain Palestine from the Turks. The
independent Muslim states in the area lost Palestine and the Eastern
Mediterranean coast to the First Crusade. In the last part of the twelfth
century, the great Saracen leader Saladin succeeded in uniting Egypt, Syria, and
smaller states, and he retook Jerusalem.

The Muslim states remained independent long after the Middle Ages and eventually
developed into the modern Arab nations of the Middle East and North Africa. They
went into economic decline, however, when the European nations opened trade
routes of their own to Asia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.


The history of Spain in the Middle Ages is written in three principal chapters:
the creation of Visigothic Spain, then Muslim Spain, and then Reconquista, the
reconquest of Spain by Christians.

The Iberian peninsula was an appendage of the Roman Empire that was discarded
as the empire disintegrated because it could not be defended in the face of
barbarian invasions that brought devastation to the streets of Rome itself. The
peninsula was occupied in large part by one of the migrating barbarian groups,
the Visigoths, who had come most recently from the southwestern plains of
modern Russia, displaced by the Huns. The Visigoths became Christian and
occupied the center of the peninsula for several centuries.

When one of the Visigoth lords appealed to Muslims in North Africa in the 8th
century for aid against the king, the door was opened for Muslim expansion
across the Straits of Gibraltar. Within 50 years the Muslims had taken most of
the peninsula, leaving only small areas in the mountains and to the north
outside their control. Muslim, or Moorish, Spain quickly developed into one of
the most advanced European civilizations of the Middle Ages. It prospered in
relative peace thanks to good agriculture, trade, coinage, and industry. It
benefited from the spread of learning throughout the Muslim world. Cordoba
became the largest and most sophisticated city in Europe after Constantinople,
featuring a population of over 500,000, wonderful architecture, great works of
art, a fabulous library, and important centers of learning.

Peace and prosperity were disrupted by internal disruption, however, as
important local rulers competed for overall power, and by external attack, both
from the Christian north and Muslim North Africa. By the middle of the 13th
century, Muslim Spain was reduced to a single kingdom centered on Granada. The
Christian kingdoms of the north gradually ate away at Muslim power, though their
effort was often dispersed when they fought with each other. Portugal split off
and created a separate kingdom. Muslim Granada survived for several centuries
thanks to liberal tribute paid to the Christians to its north and to clever
diplomacy that played their enemies against each other. In 1469, however,
Isabel I of Castile married Fernando II of Aragon, uniting the two competing
Christian kingdoms and foreshadowing the end of Muslim Spain.

Spain of the Middle Ages was a world of contrasts. It featured the great
advantages of a multi-ethnic society, merging Latin, Jewish, Christian, Arab,
and Muslim influences into a unique and rich culture. At the same time, however,
many of these same cultural forces clashed violently. When two different
cultures clash, the result is often grim. The reconquest dragged on for eight
centuries, mirroring the Crusades in the holy land and creating an atmosphere
that became increasingly pitiless and intolerant. The Christian warriors who
eventually expelled the Muslims earned a reputation for being among the best
fighters in Europe.

Granada fell to the forces of Aragon and Castile at the start of 1492, a
momentous year, as under the patronage of Queen Isabel, Christopher Columbus
subsequently discovered for Europeans the great continents of the New World and
their native populations.


The origin of Germany traces back to the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman
Emperor in 800. Upon his death the empire was split into three parts that
gradually coalesced into two: the western Frankish kingdom that became France
and the eastern kingdom that became Germany. The title of Holy Roman Emperor
remained in Charlemagne's family until the tenth century when they died out. In
919 Henry, Duke of Saxony, was elected king of Germany by his fellow dukes. His
son Otto became emperor in 962.

The Holy Roman Empire that Otto I controlled extended over the German plain
north to the Baltic, eastward into parts of modern Poland, and southward through
modern Switzerland, modern Austria, and northern Italy. From the outset, the
emperors had a difficult problem keeping control of two disparate regions-
Germany and Italy-that were separated by the Alps.

The Holy Roman Empire was successful at first because it benefited the principal
members, Germany and Italy. The Germans were not far removed from the barbarian
condition. They had been conquered by Charlemagne only a century earlier. They
benefited greatly from Italian culture, technology, and trade. The Italians
welcomed the relative peace and stability the empire ensured. Italy had been
invaded time and again for the previous 500 years. The protection of the empire
defended the papacy and allowed the city-states of Italy to begin their growth.

The imperial armies were manned partially by tenants of church lands who owed
service to the emperor. A second important contingent were the ministriales, a
corps of serfs who received the best training and equipment as knights but who
were not free men. These armies were used to put down revolts or interference by
local nobles and peasants or to defend against raids by Vikings from the north
and Magyars from the east.

Because Germany remained a collection of independent principalities in
competition, German warriors became very skilled. The most renowned German
soldiers were the Teutonic Knights, a religious order of warriors inspired by
the Crusades. The Teutonic Knights spread Christianity into the Baltic region by
conquest but were eventually halted by Alexander Nevsky at the battle on frozen
Lake Peipus.

A confrontation between the emperors and the church over investiture of bishops
weakened the emperors in both Germany and Italy. During periods of temporary
excommunication of the emperor and outright war against Rome, imperial authority
lapsed. The local German princes solidified their holdings or fought off the
Vikings with no interference or help from the emperor. In Italy, the rising
city-states combined to form the Lombard League and refused to recognize the

Political power in both Germany and Italy shifted from the emperor to the local
princes and cities. The ministriales rebelled, taking control of the cities and
castles they garrisoned and declaring themselves free. During desperate attempts
to regain Italy, more concessions were given to the local princes in Germany. By
the middle of the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Empire existed in name
only. The throne remained empty for 20 years. The German princes cared only
about their own holdings. The Italian city-states did not want a German ruler
and were strong enough to defend themselves.

Future emperors in the Middle Ages were elected by the German princes but they
ruled in name only, controlling little more than their own family estates.
Germany remained a minor power in Europe for centuries to come.


The name Turk refers to two different Muslim groups of the Middle East-first the
Seljuks and then the Ottomans. The Seljuks, nomads from the steppes near the
Caspian Sea, converted to Islam around the tenth century. Approximately 70,000
Seljuks started as mercenaries to fill the ranks of the Islamic army of the
caliph of Baghdad. These mercenaries converted to the Sunni branch of Islam. In
1055 they became the real power behind the caliph in Baghdad and began extending
their rule. Their leaders took the title sultan, meaning "holders of power." By
1100 they controlled most of Anatolia (taken from the Byzantines), Palestine,
the lands surrounding the Persian Gulf, the holy cities of Arabia, and as far
east as Samarkand.

In 1071 the Seljuks achieved a stunning victory over a Byzantine army at
Malazgirt in modern Turkey, which led to Turkish occupation of most of Anatolia.
At nearly the same time, they successfully captured Jerusalem from its Egyptian
Muslim rulers. These two events shocked the Byzantines, the papacy, and the
Christian Europeans. The result was the Crusades, which carried on for the next
200 years.

The Seljuk Turks were worn down by the recurring wars with the Crusaders, even
though they were successful ultimately in regaining control of Palestine. They
were threatened simultaneously by the activities of the Assassins, a heretical
sect of Islam. Internally, Islam entered a period of introspection because of
the popularity of Sufi mysticism. During this period of exhaustion and weakness,
they were attacked suddenly by the Mongols and collapsed. Baghdad fell to the
invaders in 1258 and the Seljuk Empire disappeared.

Islamic peoples from Anatolia (modern Turkey in Asia Minor) were unified in the
early fourteenth century under Sultan Osman I and took the name Osmanli, or
Ottomans, in his honor. The Ottomans swore a jihad against the crumbling
Byzantine Empire and took their campaign around Constantinople into the Balkans.
In 1389 the Serbs were defeated. In 1396 a "crusader" army from Hungary was
defeated. Ottoman successes were temporarily halted by the Mongols under
Tamerlane, but he moved on with his army and the Ottomans recovered.

Sultan Mehmed II ("the Conqueror") at last captured Constantinople on May 29,
1453. The great walls of Constantinople were battered by 70 guns for eight weeks
and then 15,000 Janissaries led the successful assault.

The Ottomans pushed on into Europe following the capture of Constantinople and
threatened a sort of reverse Crusade. They were stopped by a Hungarian army at
Belgrade in 1456, however. Attacks on Vienna were repulsed in 1529 and again in
1683. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire reached up into
Europe to Budapest and Odessa and included all of Greece and the Balkans, the
lands surrounding the Black Sea, Asia Minor, the Levant, Arabia, Egypt, and most
of North Africa. The Ottoman Empire remained a significant world power until
World War I in the twentieth century.


The Vikings (meaning "northmen") were the last of the barbarian tribes called
Germans by the Romans to terrorize Europe. Spreading out from their homelands in
Scandinavia, they struck suddenly across the seas from their dragon boats
(called such because of the dragon heads carved on the bow and stern). They
began by raiding, pillaging, and withdrawing before any serious armed resistance
could be mounted, but they gradually grew more bold. Eventually they occupied
and settled significant parts of Europe.

Being pagan, they did not hesitate to kill churchmen and loot church holdings,
and they were feared for their ruthlessness and ferocity. At the same time, they
were remarkable craftsmen, sailors, explorers, and traders.

The Viking homelands were Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They and their
descendants controlled, at least temporarily, most of the Baltic Coast, much of
inland Russia, Normandy in France, England, Sicily, southern Italy, and parts of
Palestine. They discovered Iceland in 825 (Irish monks were there already) and
settled there in 875. They colonized Greenland in 985. Some people think that
the Vikings reached Newfoundland and explored part of North America 500 years
before the voyage of Columbus.

Vikings began raiding and then settling along the eastern Baltic Sea in the
sixth and seventh centuries. At the end of the eighth century, they were making
long raids down the rivers of modern Russia and setting up forts along the way
for defense. In the ninth century, they were ruling Kiev and in 907 a force of
2000 ships and 80,000 men attacked Constantinople. They were bought off by the
emperor of Byzantium with very favorable terms of trade.

Vikings struck first in the West in the late eighth century. Danes attacked and
looted the famous island monastery at Lindisfarne on the northeast coast of
England, beginning a trend. The size and frequency of raids against England,
France, and Germany increased to the point of becoming invasions. Settlements
were established as bases for further raids. Viking settlements in northwestern
France came to be known as Normandy ("from the northmen"), and the residents
were called Normans.

In 865 a large Danish army invaded England, and they went on to hold much of
England for the next two centuries. One of the last kings of all England before
1066 was Canute, who ruled Denmark and Norway simultaneously. In 871 another
large fleet sailed up the Seine River to attack Paris. They besieged the city
for two years before being bought off with a large cash payment and permission
to loot part of western France unimpeded.

In 911 the French king made the Viking chief of Normandy a duke in return for
converting to Christianity and ceasing to raid. From the Duchy of Normandy came
a remarkable series of warriors, including William I, who conquered England in
1066, Robert Guiscard and his family, who took Sicily from the Arabs between
1060 and 1091, and Baldwin I, king of the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.

Viking raids stopped at the end of the tenth century. Denmark, Sweden, and
Norway had become kingdoms, and much of their king's energy was devoted to
running their lands. The spread of Christianity weakened the old pagan warrior
values, which died out. The Norse were also absorbed by the cultures into which
they had intruded. The occupiers and conquerors of England became English, the
Normans became French, and the Rus became Russians.

         Medieval Weapons

The traditional and popular understanding of European warfare in the Middle Ages
held that mounted knights dominated European battlefields during the years 800
to 1400. Knights were encased in plate armor and charged with lances,
scattering, skewering, and riding down any foot troops in the way as they closed
with each other to decide the battle. The era of the knight came to an end when
infantry reestablished a prominent battlefield role with new weapons (firearms)
and revived skills (formations of massed pikeman). This view was fostered by the
art and limited accounts of the era that featured the mounted nobility while
ignoring the commoners and peasants who fought on foot. The perception that
knights dominated and that warfare consisted mainly of cavalry charges is false.

Foot troops were an important component of all armies in the Middle Ages. They
fought in hand-to-hand mκlιes and as missile troops (bows of various types and
later handguns). Foot soldiers were critical for both sides in sieges against
castles and fortified towns.

Warfare in the Middle Ages was dominated actually by sieges of one sort or
another. Battles on open ground between armies were infrequent. Armies played a
sort of chess match, maneuvering to take important castles and towns, while
avoiding engagements where a large and expensive force might be lost.

On those occasions where pitched battles did occur, knights could be
devastating. A determined charge by armored knights was a powerful force. It was
more likely, however, that victory went to the side making best use of the three
major army components together-mκlιe infantry, missile troops, and cavalry. Also
important were the factors that have always influenced battle, such as
intelligent use of terrain, troop morale, leadership, discipline, and tactics.

         Dark Age Armies

The Germanic tribes that overran the Roman Empire at the start of the Middle
Ages fought primarily on foot with axes and swords, while wearing little armor
other than perhaps helmets and shields. They were organized into war bands under
the leadership of a chief. They were fierce warriors but fought in undisciplined
mobs. The disciplined Roman legions had great success against the Germanic
tribes for centuries, in part because emotional armies are usually very fragile.
When the Roman legions declined in quality at the empire's end, however, the
Germanic tribes were able to push across the frontier.

Not all Germanic tribes fought on foot. Exceptions were the Goths, who had
adapted to horses when they settled previously north of the Black Sea. Both the
Visigoths and Ostrogoths learned about cavalry by being in contact with the
Eastern Roman Empire south of the Danube and barbarian horsemen from Asia. The
Eastern Roman armies put a greater emphasis on cavalry because of their
conflicts with mounted barbarians, the Parthians, and the Persians.

Following the fall of Rome, most fighting in Europe for the next few centuries
involved clashes of foot soldiers. One exception might have been the battles of
Britain's Arthur against the invading Saxons, although we have no evidence that
his success was due to using cavalry. Arthur may have halted Saxon progress in
Britain for 50 years, perhaps because of cavalry or the use of disciplined
troops. Another exception was the Byzantine army that recaptured North Africa
from the Vandals and almost restored Italy to Eastern Roman control in the sixth
century. The strength of the Byzantine army of this period was cavalry. The
Byzantines benefited also from both superior leadership and an understanding of
tactics that the barbarians lacked.

Fighting in these first centuries rarely involved groups that could be described
as armies. They were the same war bands as before, small by Byzantine or Asian
standards and employing limited tactics or strategy. The main military
activities were raids to obtain loot in the form of food, livestock, weapons,
and slaves. Aggressive tribes expanded by devastating the food production of
enemies, starving them out, and enslaving the survivors. Battles were mainly
clashes of war bands, fighting hand to hand with axes and swords. They fought as
mobs, not the disciplined formations typical of the Romans. They used shields
and helmets and wore some armor. Leather armor was common; only chieftains and
elites wore chain mail.

In the early eighth century, Visgothic Spain fell to the warriors of Islam, many
of whom fought as light cavalry. At the same time, nomadic Magyars from the
Hungarian plains increased their mounted raids on western Europe. In 732 a
Frankish infantry army was able to defeat a Muslim cavalry raid near Poitiers,
ending Muslim northward expansion. Charles Martel, warlord of the Franks, was
impressed by the Moorish cavalry and began mounting part of his army. This
conversion continued later in the century under the great king of the Franks,
Charlemagne. Frankish heavy cavalry was the genesis of the mounted knight that
came to typify medieval warfare.

Annually for 30 years, Charlemagne conducted military campaigns that extended
the size of his empire. The Frankish army consisted of both infantry and armored
cavalry, but the cavalry was his most valuable force and the part that got the
most notice. It could move quickly and strike hard against foes fighting mainly
on foot. Charlemagne's campaigns were economic raids, burning, looting, and
devastating enemies into submission. He fought very few battles against
organized opposition.

The Vikings fought exclusively on foot, except that it was their habit to gather
horses upon landing and use them to raid farther inland. Their raids began in
the late eighth century and ended in the eleventh century. The descendants of
Viking raiders that became the Normans of northwestern France adapted quickly to
the use of horses and became some of the most successful warriors of the late
Middle Ages.

In the early tenth century, the Germans began developing the use of cavalry
under Otto I, both as a rapid response force against Viking raids and to repel
mounted barbarian raids from the East.

By the end of the tenth century, heavy cavalry was an important component of
most European armies except in Anglo-Saxon England, Celtic lands (Ireland,
Wales, and Scotland), and Scandinavia.


By the time of Charlemagne, mounted warriors had become the elite military units
of the Franks and this innovation spread across Europe. Fighting from a horse
was most glorious because the mounted man rode into battle, moved quickly, and
trampled down lower-class enemies on foot. When cavalry faced cavalry, the
charge at speed and resulting violent contact was exhilarating. Fighting while
mounted was most prestigious because of the high cost of horses, weapons, and
armor. Only wealthy individuals, or the retainers of the wealthy, could fight

Kings of the late Dark Ages had little money with which to pay for large
contingents of expensive cavalry. Warriors were made vassals and given fiefs of
land. They were expected to use their profits from the land to pay for horses
and equipment. In most cases, vassals also supported groups of professional
soldiers. At a time when central authority was weak and communications poor, the
vassal, aided by his retainers, was responsible for law and order within the
fief. In return for his fief, the vassal agreed to provide military service to
his lord. In this way, high lords and kings were able to raise armies when
desired. The elites of these armies were the mounted vassals.

As the Middle Ages progressed, the elite mounted warriors of western Europe
became known as knights. A code of behavior evolved, called chivalry, which
detailed how they should conduct themselves. They were obsessed with honor, both
at war and at peace, although mainly when dealing with their peers, not the
commoners and peasants who constituted the bulk of the population. Knights
became the ruling class, controlling the land from which all wealth derived. The
aristocrats were noble originally because of their status and prestige as the
supreme warriors in a violent world. Later their status and prestige were based
mainly on heredity, and the importance of being a warrior declined.


When first used, the term "chivalry" meant horsemanship. The warrior elite of
the Middle Ages distinguished themselves from the peasants and clergy and each
other by their skill as horsemen and warriors. Fast and strong horses, beautiful
and efficient weapons, and well-made armor were the status symbols of the day.

By the twelfth century, chivalry had come to mean an entire way of life. The
basic rules of the chivalric code were the following:

*  Protect women and the weak.
*  Champion justice against injustice and evil.
*  Love the homeland.
*  Defend the Church, even at the risk of death.

In practice, knights and aristocrats ignored the code of chivalry when it suited
them. Feuds between nobles and fights over land took precedent over any code.
The Germanic tribal custom that called for a chieftain's property to be split
among his sons, rather than pass to the eldest, often triggered wars among
brothers for the spoils. An example of this was the conflict between
Charlemagne's grandsons. The Middle Ages were plagued with such civil wars in
which the big losers were usually the peasants.

In the late Middle Ages, kings created orders of chivalry, which were exclusive
organizations of high-ranking knights that swore allegiance to their king and
each other. Becoming a member of chivalric order was extremely prestigious,
marking a man as one of the most important of the realm. In 1347 during the
Hundred Years War, Edward III of England founded the Order of the Garter, still
in existence today. This order consisted of the 25 highest-ranking knights of
England and was founded to ensure their loyalty to the king and dedication to
victory in the war.

The Order of the Golden Fleece was established by Philip the Good of Burgundy in
1430 and became the richest and most powerful order in Europe. Louis XI of
France established the Order of St. Michael to control his most important
nobles. The Orders of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara were founded to drive
the Moors out of Spain. They were united under Ferdinand of Aragon, whose
marriage to Isabella of Castile set the foundation for a single Spanish kingdom.
He eventually became master of the three orders, although they remained

Becoming a Knight

At the age of 7 or 8, boys of the noble class were sent to live with a great
lord as a page. Pages learned basic social skills from the women of the lord's
household and began basic training in the use of weapons and horsemanship.
Around the age of 14 the youth became a squire, a knight in training. Squires
were assigned to a knight who continued the youth's education. The squire was a
general companion and servant to the knight. The duties of the squire included
polishing armor and weapons (prone to rust), helping his knight dress and
undress, looking after his belongings, and even sleeping across his doorway as a

At tournaments and in battle, the squire assisted his knight as needed. He
brought up replacement weapons and horses, treated wounds, brought a wounded
knight out of danger, or made sure of a decent burial if needed. In many cases
the squire went into battle with his knight and fought at his side. A knight
avoided fighting a squire on the other side, if possible, seeking instead a
knight of rank similar to or higher than his own. Squires, on the other hand,
sought to engage enemy knights, seeking to gain glory by killing or capturing an
enemy knight of high rank.

In addition to martial training, squires built up their strength through games,
learned to at least read, if not write, and studied music, dancing, and singing.

By the age of 21, a squire was eligible to become a knight. Suitable candidates
were "knighted" by a lord or other knight of high standing. The ceremony for
becoming a knight was simple at first, usually being "dubbed" on the shoulder
with a sword and then buckling on a sword belt. The ceremony grew more elaborate
and the Church added to the rite. Candidates bathed, cut their hair close, and
stayed up all night in a vigil of prayer. In the morning the candidate received
the sword and spurs of a knight.

Knighthood was usually attainable only for those who possessed the land or
income necessary to meet the responsibilities of the rank. Important lords and
bishops could support a sizable contingent of knights, however, and many found
employment in these circumstances. Squires who fought particularly well might
also gain the recognition of a great lord during battle and be knighted on the


Mock battles between knights, called tournaments, began in the tenth century and
were immediately condemned by the second Council of Letrαn, under Pope
Innocentius II, and the kings of Europe who objected to the injuries and deaths
of knights in what they considered frivolous activity. Tournaments flourished,
however, and became an integral part of a knight's life.

Tournaments began as simple contests between individual knights but grew more
elaborate through the centuries. They became important social events that would
attract patrons and contestants from great distances. Special lists (tournament
grounds) were erected with stands for spectators and pavilions for combatants.
Knights continued to compete as individuals but also in teams. They dueled
against each other using a variety of weapons and held mock mκlιe battles with
many knights on a side. Jousts, or tilts, involving two charging knights
fighting with lances, became the premier event. Knights competed like modern-day
athletes for prizes, prestige, and the eyes of the ladies who filled the stands.

So many men were being killed in tournaments by the thirteenth century, that
leaders, including the pope, became alarmed. Sixty knights died in a 1240
tournament held in Cologne, for example. The pope wanted as many knights as
possible to fight on the Crusades in the Holy Land, rather than be killed in
tournaments. Weapons were blunted and rules attempted to reduce the incidence of
injury, but serious and fatal injuries occurred. Henry II of France was mortally
wounded, for example, in a joust at a tournament held to celebrate his
daughter's wedding.

Challenges were usually issued for a friendly contest, but grudges between two
enemies might be settled in a fight to the death. Tournament losers were
captured and paid a ransom to the victors in horses, weapons, and armor to
obtain their release. Heralds kept track of tournament records, like modern
baseball box scores. A low-ranking knight could amass wealth through prizes and
attract a wealthy wife.

Military Orders

During the Crusades military orders of knights were created to support the
Christian goals of the movement. They became the fiercest of the Crusaders and
the most hated enemies of the Arabs. These orders carried on after the Crusades
in Palestine ended in failure.

The first of these orders were the Knights of the Temple, or the Templars,
founded in 1108 to protect the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The Templars wore a
white surcoat supplanted with a red cross and took the same vows as a
Benedictine monk-poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Templars were among the
bravest defenders of the Holy Land. They were the last Crusaders to leave the
Holy Land. In the following years they grew wealthy from donations and by
lending money at interest, attracting the envy and distrust of kings. In 1307
King Philip IV of France accused them of many crimes, including heresy, arrested
them, and confiscated their lands. Other European leaders followed his lead and
the Templars were destroyed.

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Hospitallers, were set up
originally to tend to sick and poor pilgrims visiting the Holy Sepulcher. They
converted shortly into a military order. They wore a red surcoat with a white
cross and also took the vows of St. Benedict. The Hospitallers set a high
standard and did not allow their order to become rich and indolent. When forced
out of the Holy Land following the surrender of their great castle, the Krak des
Chevaliers, they retreated to the island of Rhodes, which they defended for many
years. Driven from Rhodes by the Turks they took up residence on Malta.

The third great military order was the Teutonic Knights, founded in 1190 to
protect German pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Before the end of the
Crusades they had turned their efforts toward converting the heathens in Prussia
and in the Baltic States.


To distinguish knights on the battlefield, a system of badges called heraldry
was developed. A special badge was designed for each nobleman to be shown on his
shield, surcoat, flags, and seal. A surcoat decorated with a knight's badge
became known as a coat-of-arms and this term came to describe the badges
themselves. An independent organization known as the College of Heralds designed
the individual badges and ensured that each was unique. Badges were recorded by
the heralds in special books under their care.

Coats-of-arms were handed down from one generation to the next and would be
modified by marriage. Certain designs were reserved for royalty in different
countries. By the late Middle Ages towns, guilds, and even prominent nonnoble
townsmen were granted coats-of-arms.

On the battlefield, combatants used coats-of-arms to distinguish friend and foe
and to choose a worthy opponent in a mκlιe. Heralds made lists of knights about
to fight based on their badges. Heralds were also considered neutrals and would
act as intermediaries between two armies. In this manner they might pass
messages between the defenders of a castle or town and its besiegers. After a
battle, heralds identified the dead by their coats-of-arms.

         Medieval Weapons

For most of the Middle Ages, the technology of weapons was little changed from
that of the ancient world, remaining primarily variants of the club, knife,
spear, axe, and arrow. An important innovation was the heavy mounted horseman
using the lance. The mounted knight was significantly more potent than any
cavalry of the ancient world. The closest ancient equivalent may have been the
Companion cavalry of Alexander the Great.

By the tenth century Europe had bypassed the ancients in most areas, including
weaponry. The evolution of the heavy horseman triggered corresponding innovation
to defend against him. This resulted in new pole arms to ward off or engage

The longbow and crossbow were innovations in the West. The crossbow was known to
the ancient Chinese, however.

The revolutionary technology of the Middle Ages was the development of gunpowder
weapons, both cannons and hand weapons, discussed later.

| Cavalry Weapons |

Since the first appearance of cavalry around 1000 BC, mounted troops have
fulfilled several important roles in battle. They acted as scouts, skirmishers,
a shock force for mκlιe combat, a rear guard, and the pursuit of a retreating
enemy. Cavalry were divided into several different categories depending on
equipment and training, and some categories were better suited for certain roles
than others. Light cavalry wore little or no armor and was best suited for
scouting, skirmishing, and acting as a rear guard. Heavy cavalry wore armor and
was better suited for use as a shock force that charged the enemy. All types of
cavalry excelled at pursuit.

Knights of the Middle Ages were heavy cavalry, and the code of chivalry
emphasized their role as shock troops charging enemy cavalry and infantry. From
the thirteenth century on, the term man-at-arms was used to describe armored
warriors fighting on horse and on foot. The new term applied to knights as well
as squires, gentry, and professional soldiers.

The advantages of knights in battle were speed, intimidation, power, and height.
As the Middle Ages progressed, the equipment of knights improved to enhance
these advantages.


The spear, and later the larger lance, was the weapon with which cavalry opened
a battle. It was ideal for stabbing opponents on foot, especially those in
flight. The presentation of the spear in front of a mounted horseman added
greatly to the intimidation caused by an approaching charge. Much of the force
of the horse could be transmitted through the spear point at the moment of
impact. The charging knight became a thundering missile.

Historians disagree on the importance of the stirrup to the rise of knights. The
stirrup first appeared in Asia and reached Europe in the eighth century. Some
believe that it was critical to the rise of knights because it allowed the rider
to brace himself and his lance, thereby transmitting the entire force of the
charging horse through the lance point. No one argues with the advantage of this
force multiplication, but others suggest that the high saddle developed in Roman
times allowed riders to transmit this power before the stirrup appeared. The
Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts William's conquest of England in 1066, shows the
highly regarded Norman knights using their spears mainly as overhand stabbing or
throwing spears, not as couched lances. By this time the stirrup had been known
in Europe for at least two centuries. For the remainder of the Middle Ages, the
mounted charge by knights holding couched lances was the epitome of combats for
knights. It was not always the correct tactic, however.

The initial charge by knights often resulted in the loss of spears or lances, or
the charge ended in a general mκlιe. In either case, knights switched to another
weapon. This was usually their sword. The cavalry sword evolved into the saber,
a wide, heavy blade that a man standing in his stirrups could swing down with
tremendous force on the head and upper body of opponents. Swords were the
weapons that knights prized most highly because they could be carried on the
person, prominently displayed, and personalized. They were the most common
weapons for hand-to-hand combat between knights. Good swords were also
expensive, so ownership was another distinction of the nobility.

Other choices of mκlιe weapon included the hammer and mace (evolutions of the
club), the axe, and the flail. Hammers and maces were popular with fighting
churchmen and warrior monks trying to obey the letter of the Bible's admonition
about shedding blood, which edged weapons were prone to do.

Under no circumstances did knights use missile weapons of any kind. Killing an
opponent at range with an arrow, bolt, or bullet was considered dishonorable.
Knights fought worthy foes of the same rank when possible and killed face to
face or not at all.


Chain mail armor was worn by the late Romans and by some of the invading
Germanic tribes, including the Goths. Chain mail remained popular with the
nobility of medieval Europe until more protective plate armor came into use in
the thirteenth century. The change was made in part because an arrow or sharp
sword point could pierce chain mail. A cloth tunic, called a surcoat, was worn
over the chain mail, especially during the Crusades to reflect the sun.

Helmets also evolved from simple conical designs, to large metal buckets, to
large sculpted pieces designed to deflect arrows. Later, helmets could be bolted
to the armor worn on the body.

Full suits of armor weighing up to 60 pounds appeared in the fourteenth century.
Plate armor was well designed and knights retained a surprising amount of
agility. An armored knight on the ground was not helpless and could easily stand
up. There are accounts and depictions of armored men doing handstands and other
gymnastics in lighter moments. Later suits put increased emphasis on deflecting
missiles and reinforced areas most exposed to blows. Elaborate full suits of
engraved plate armor appeared late during the age and were more ceremonial and
prestigious than practical.

Armor was a large expense for a knight who equipped himself and a squire. An
important lord had to provide armor for many knights. The making of armor was an
important business, and a large market in used armor developed during the Middle
Ages. Common soldiers on the victorious side of a battle could make a
substantial sum by stripping dead knights of their armor and selling it.


Knights took special pride in their horses, which were bred for speed and
strength. They required extensive training, as well, to be manageable during a
charge and mκlιe. Horses were trained to charge with minimal guidance, freeing
the knight to hold his shield and lance. Historians disagree as to whether the
horses of knights were the heavy horse thought necessary to carry the weight of
a fully equipped knight or a smaller horse valued for its speed and agility.

Horsemanship was another characteristic by which the elite knights distinguished
themselves from the commoners. It was practiced while hunting, a popular leisure
activity of the nobles that carries on today in the traditional foxhunt.

| Missile Weapons |

Bows of one type or another played an important role in battle throughout the
Middle Ages. They were used as direct fire weapons against individual targets on
battlefields and during sieges. In some cases they were used as area fire

Missile fire allowed men to cause casualties at range. Archers were used as
light troops to cause casualties and weaken enemy morale due to losses before
mκlιe combat. If the enemy force could be weakened or shaken, the chances of
winning the mκlιe were enhanced.


Bows used during the Middle Ages were of various types, including the short bow,
the composite bow, and the longbow. The short bow was 3 to 4 feet long and
rather easy to make and use. It was employed widely and the most common bow
encountered. It had medium range, power, and accuracy and required substantial
experience and training for effective use.

The composite bow was of Asiatic origin. It was made from a composite of wood or
bone strips bonded together. The lamination created a more powerful bow, but one
that required more strength and training than the common bow. This relatively
short bow was the preferred weapon of horse archers, especially the Mongols and
other horse peoples from Asia. A variant of the composite bow was curved forward
at the tips during manufacture (by steaming and bending the laminate). This
recurved bow generated more power and required a high degree of strength and

The longbow originated in Wales and spread to England. It was a 6-foot bow made
from a single piece of wood, usually from the yew tree. The longbow shot a 3-
foot arrow (cloth yard). These were fitted with broad tips for use against
infantry (for piercing leather armor and causing lacerations) and narrow tips
for use against armored men (to pierce mail or plate armor). Shooting the
longbow required extensive training and practice; men experienced with the
weapon could get off six well-aimed shots in a minute. Longbows had a long range
and were quite powerful. Large contingents of experienced longbowmen were a
devastating force on many battlefields of the Middle Ages. They could fire
individually aimed shots or rain down a barrage of arrows into an area.

The English encouraged the use of the longbow by sponsoring archery tournaments
throughout the land. All other sports were banned on Sundays. This created a
large pool of experienced bowmen from which they could recruit. Each English
shire was required by law to provide a number of bowmen each year. There was
usually no shortage of applicants because the pay of soldiers was so good
relative to other work.


The crossbow was known in ancient China but seems to have been reinvented in
Europe around 900. It had good range and was more powerful than most bows, but
it took much more time to load. An average crossbowman fired 2 shots per minute.

The bow of the crossbow was held horizontally and fired with a trigger that
released the taut bowstring. To load, the front of the weapon was pointed to the
ground and held in place by foot. The bowstring was pulled up and back with both
hands or with the help of cranks. The crossbow fired a quarrel, or bolt, which
was much shorter than a typical arrow. The quarrel did have flights (feathers)
for stabilization in flight and had a sharpened metal point.

Crossbowmen often carried a pavise shield into battle to provide cover while
they loaded. This was a tall shield with wooden braces attached. A force of
crossbowmen set up a wall of such shields and bent down behind the wall to load.
When they shot, only the crossbows and their helmeted heads appeared over the
wall of shields. If forced to fight in the open against a comparable force of
longbowmen, they were usually forced to withdraw.

The crossbow was a deadly weapon and was very popular for the simple reason that
it took little training to operate. Relatively raw soldiers could become
proficient with a crossbow very quickly, and a well-aimed shot could kill a
knight in armor who had spent a lifetime in combat training. The crossbow was
considered unfair in some circles (those of the knights, primarily) because it
took so little skill. Richard I of England, the Lionheart, was wounded twice by
crossbow bolts. The second proved fatal. The idea of such great men being killed
easily by common soldiers or worse was appalling to the nobility. In the twelfth
century a pope tried to get the crossbow banned for being inhumane.

| Hand Weapons |

Foot soldiers armed with hand weapons were the third principal component of
medieval armies, along with cavalry and missile troops. Mκlιe infantry fought
hand to hand and were important both in pitched battles and during sieges.
Infantry consisted of peasants, common soldiers, and dismounted knights.

Hand Weapons

The Franks of the Dark Ages fought with a throwing axe called the francisca,
from which their tribe took its name. Their neighbors, the Saxons, fought with a
large, one-sided knife called a scramasax, from which they took their name.

With the development of the heavy cavalryman came the heavy sword, which was
used in hand-to-hand fighting on foot as well. Variants of the sword included a
two-handed version that required a lot of space to wield. Men-at-arms employed a
variety of weapons on foot, including axes (both one-handed and two-handed),
maces, flails, and hammers. A variant of the mace was a spiked ball fastened to
a shaft by a chain. As armor improved to reduce the effect of sword blows,
crushing and puncturing weapons became more favored.

Pole Arms

The basic spear was a useful weapon throughout the Middle Ages because it was
cheap to make and simple to use. Common foot soldiers and peasants could be
armed with it and pressed into battle service. In most cases such an expedient
was of little use, but with experience and some training large bodies of
spearmen could be effective.

Pole arms evolved through the medieval period and eventually reached a point
where formations of foot troops skilled in their use were extremely effective.
Advanced pole arms consisted of a spear point with one or more weapon faces
below the point. This additional weapon might be a large long blade, an axe, a
billhook, a hammer, or a spike.

Long pole arms evolved in response to the mounted knight and resulted in a
revival of a formation something like the ancient Greek phalanx. Horses would
not charge a disciplined formation of men that bristled with extended pole
weapons. A dense formation of pole arms held high also served as some protection
from arrows.

Foot soldiers first learned to stand behind wooden stakes set in the ground to
ward off cavalry. They then learned to deploy spears, pikes, and other pole arms
to ward off cavalry. This allowed the formation to move and take its anti-
cavalry stakes with it, in effect. In a mκlιe, the various attachments at the
end of the pole were used to pull horsemen off their mounts, push them off, or
cause wounds to the rider or horse. Although armored men were not helpless when
prone on the ground, as some have thought, they were at a disadvantage, at least
temporarily, to men wearing little or no armor before they could rise.

As the towns grew in the second half of the Middle Ages, they built up their own
militias of troops for defense and for feudal military service. Pole arms were
popular weapons with the town militias because they were relatively cheap to
provide and effective for the cost. Town militias trained with these weapons and
developed useful battlefield tactics. In time, formations of pole-armed men
learned to be aggressive, not simply defensive. Massed formations of pikeman
could physically attack other infantry and even cavalry. The Swiss lacked the
pastureland to support horse armies but became famous as pikemen. They often
served as mercenaries in other continental armies. The lowland cities of
Flanders and the highlands of Scotland also fielded pike units that were highly

         Medieval Armies

The first medieval armies were tribal war bands carried over from ancient times.
These evolved into feudal armies made up of a lord's vassals and their
respective retainers. Fief holders were required to provide a period of military
service each year. This began as weeks or months of service by the vassal
accompanied by professional soldiers he retained personally. The armies of later
kings and wealthy lords consisted of a higher proportion of professionals and
mercenaries. Late in the period, vassals sent money instead of actually serving
in armies, and this "martial tax" helped kings to support armies year-round.

Service in feudal armies was a matter of duty and honor for the knights. In a
warrior society, knights lived for the opportunity to fight. Success in battle
was the main path to recognition and wealth. For professional soldiers, often
the sons of the aristocracy left with little when the eldest began inheriting
everything, fighting was a job. It was duty for peasants also, when they were
called up, but certainly not an honor.

By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many commoners joined the ranks for
pay that was often much better than that for more peaceful employment. A strong
attraction for a commoner to become a soldier was the prospect of loot. Tribal
warriors stayed loyal to their warrior chief and fought for him so long as he
provided them with a living and loot. These ideals of the war band carried over
into the feudal age. Low-ranking knights and professional foot soldiers longed
for the opportunity to take part in the assault against a rich town or castle
because strongholds that resisted were traditionally looted. A soldier could
gather up many times his year's pay during the sack of a city. Pitched battles
also offered opportunities for gain. The armor and weapons of the dead could be
sold and captured knights could be ransomed.

| Organization |

The organization of feudal armies was kept simple in comparison to the large
national armies of more modern time. There were no permanent regiments,
divisions, or corps until the very end of the age. When a feudal army was
summoned, each vassal traveled to the meeting point with any knights, archers,
and footmen that he was required to bring. At the meeting point, the contingents
would be reassembled by role. The knights and their squires kept and marched
together, as did the archers and footmen.

Special units, such as engineers and the operators of siege artillery, were
usually professionals hired for the campaign. Christian mercenaries, for
example, operated the artillery employed by the Turks against Constantinople.

Being a mercenary soldier was a respected profession in the late Middle Ages.
Warrior entrepreneurs formed mercenary companies that allowed a rich lord or
city to hire a ready-made competent fighting force. Mercenary companies existed
that were all of one skill. For example, 2000 Genoese crossbowmen served in the
French army at the Battle of Crιcy in 1346. Other mercenary companies were mixed
forces of all arms. These were often described in terms of the number of lances
they contained. Each lance represented a mounted man-at-arms plus additional
mounted, foot, and missile troops. A company of 100 lances represented several
hundred fighting men. This system was the origin of the word "freelance."

Command hierarchy within a feudal army was flat. Not much maneuvering was
anticipated so there was little provision of large staffs to support the
commander and pass orders.

In 1439 Charles VII of France raised Royal Ordinance Companies. These companies
were filled with either knights or infantry and were paid from tax revenues.
Each company had a fixed complement of men; their armor and weapons were chosen
by the king rather than left to personal choice. This was the beginning of
modern standing armies in the West.


There was little provision for food and medical supplies. Medieval armies lived
off the land, to the detriment of everyone residing in an area they occupied or
passed through. Having a friendly army march through was no better than having
the enemy pass. Medieval armies did not linger in one area for long because
local supplies of food and forage were quickly exhausted. This was a particular
problem during sieges. If an army laying siege did not make arrangements to have
food and supplies brought in, it might have to lift its siege to avoid
starvation long before the defenders had to surrender.

Sanitation was also a problem when an army stayed in one place. A medieval army
brought along many animals, in addition to the horses of the knights, and sewage
problems led to dysentery. Feudal armies tended to waste away to disease and
desertion. During his campaign in France, Henry V of England lost an estimated
15 percent of his army to disease at the siege of Harfleur and more on the march
leading up to Agincourt. At the battle itself, he lost only 5 percent. Henry V
died of disease related to poor sanitation at another siege.

Deployment for Battle

Most battles were set-piece affairs where the two sides arranged themselves
before the fighting began. Campaigns of maneuver and meeting engagements were

Prior to battle, commanders divided their forces into contingents with specific
tasks in mind for each. The first separation might be into foot soldiers,
archers, and cavalry. These groups might be divided further into groups to be
given individual missions or to be held in reserve. A commander might arrange
several "battles" or "divisions" of knights, for example. These could be
launched individually as desired or held in reserve. Archers might be deployed
in front of the army with blocks of infantry in support. Once the army had been
arranged, the only major decisions were when to send in the prearranged pieces.
There was little provision for pulling back, reforming, or rearranging once the
fighting started. A force of knights, for example, could rarely be used more
than once. After they had been committed to action, they were usually reinforced
or withdrawn. A full charge by heavy cavalry caused such disruption, lost
equipment, and loss of horses that the force was essentially spent. The Norman
knights at Hastings were reformed for further attacks, but they did not launch a
full charge because they could not penetrate the Saxon shield-wall.

Superior commanders made use of the terrain to their advantage and conducted
reconnaissance to evaluate the enemy's strength and weaknesses.


The ultimate rewards from successful battle included honors and grants of fiefs.
The proximate rewards included booty from looting bodies, ransacking captured
towns and castles, selling the armor and weapons of the dead, and ransoming
high-ranking prisoners. Knights were expected to pay ransoms to save their
lives. One of the highest recorded ransoms was more than US $20 million paid to
a German prince for the release of Richard I of England, captured during his
return from the Crusades.

At Agincourt the English were holding a large group of French knights at the
rear for ransom. During the battle, a French contingent raided toward the rear
of the English and briefly panicked Henry V. He ordered the execution of the
held French knights to prevent their release, thereby forgoing a fortune in

The capture of knights was recorded by heralds who kept a tally of which
soldiers were responsible and thereby due the bulk of the ransom. The heralds
then notified the prisoner's family, arranged the ransom payment, and obtained
the prisoner's release.

The popularity of ransoms seems remarkably civil but masks a darker story. Low-
ranking prisoners of no value might be killed out-of-hand to eliminate the
problem of guarding and feeding them.

| Strategy |

Medieval military strategy was concerned with control of the economic basis for
wealth and, thus, the ability to put armies in the field. At the start of the
era this meant primarily ravaging or defending the countryside because all
wealth originated in the fields and pastures. As the age progressed, towns
became important control points as centers of wealth from trade and

Holding and taking castles was a key element of war because they defended the
farmland. The warrior occupants of the castle controlled the neighborhood. As
towns grew they were fortified also. Defending and taking them gradually became
more important than fighting for castles.

Field armies maneuvered to take the key fortified points and ravage the
countryside, or to prevent the enemy from conducting such a campaign. Pitched
battles were fought to end the destruction of enemy invasions. The Battle of
Hastings in 1066, for example, was fought by the Anglo-Saxons to stop an
invasion by the Normans. The Anglo-Saxons lost and the Normans under William
spent the next several years establishing control of England in a campaign of
conquest. The Battle of Lechfield in 955 was fought between the Germans and
Magyar raiders from the East. The decisive victory of the Germans under Otto I
brought an end to further Magyar invasions. The defeat of the Moors in 732 by
Charles Martel ended Muslim raids and expansion out of Spain.

The battles of Crιcy, Poitiers, and Agincourt, all fought during the Hundred
Years War between the English and French, were all attempts by the French to
stop English incursions. The French lost all three battles and the English raids
carried on. In this case, however, the raids did not establish permanent control
for the English and the French eventually won the war.

The Crusades were attempts to take and hold key strong points in the Holy Land
from which control of the area could be maintained. Battles in the Crusades were
fought to break the control of one side or the other. The victory at Hattin in
1187 by the Saracens under Saladin made possible the recapture of Jerusalem.

| Battle Tactics |

Medieval battles evolved slowly from clashes of poorly organized war bands into
battles where tactics and maneuvers were employed. Part of this evolution was in
response to the development of different types of soldiers and weapons and
learning how to use these. The early armies of the Dark Ages were mobs of foot
soldiers. With the rise of heavy cavalry, the best armies became mobs of
knights. Foot soldiers were brought along to devastate farmlands and do the
heavy work in sieges. In battle, however, foot soldiers were at risk from both
sides as the knights sought to engage their enemies in single combat. This was
mainly true of foot soldiers early in the period who were feudal levies and
untrained peasants. Archers were useful in sieges as well, but also at risk of
being rundown on the battlefield.

By the late 1400's commanders were making better progress in disciplining their
knights and getting their armies to work as a team. In the English army, knights
gave their grudging respect to the longbowmen after the archers demonstrated
their value on so many battlefields. Discipline improved also as more and more
knights fought for pay and less for honor and glory. Mercenary soldiers in Italy
became well known for long campaigns during which no appreciable blood was
spilt. By that time soldiers of all ranks were assets not to be discarded
lightly. Feudal armies seeking glory evolved into professional armies more
interested in living to spend their pay.

Cavalry Tactics

Cavalry was divided typically into three groups, or divisions, to be sent into
battle one after another. The first wave would either break through or disrupt
the enemy so that the second or third wave could break through. Once the enemy
was running, the real killing and capturing could take place.

In practice, knights followed personal agendas to the detriment of any
commander's plan. The knights were interested primarily in honor and glory and
jockeyed for positions in the first rank of the first division. Overall victory
on the field was a secondary concern to personal glory. In battle after battle,
the knights charged as soon as they saw the enemy, dissolving any plan.

Commanders dismounted their knights on occasion as a way to better control them.
This was a popular option with the smaller army that had little hope in a
contest of charges. Dismounted knights bolstered the fighting power and morale
of common foot troops. The dismounted knights and other foot soldiers fought
from behind stakes or other battlefield constructions designed to minimize the
impact of cavalry charges.

An example of undisciplined behavior by knights was the Battle of Crιcy in 1346.
The French army greatly outnumbered the English (40,000 to 10,000), having many
more mounted knights. The English divided into three groups of longbowmen
protected by stakes driven into the ground. Between the three groups were two
groups of dismounted knights. A third group of dismounted knights was held in
reserve. Genoese mercenary crossbowmen were sent out by the French king to shoot
into the dismounted English army while he tried to organize his knights into
three divisions. The crossbows had gotten wet, however, and were ineffective.
The French knights ignored their king's efforts at organization as soon as they
saw the enemy and worked themselves into a frenzy, shouting, "Kill! Kill!" over
and over. Impatient with the Genoese, the French king ordered his knights
forward and they trampled down the crossbowmen in their way. Although the
fighting went on all day, the dismounted English knights and longbowmen (who had
kept their bowstrings dry) defeated the mounted French who fought as an
undisciplined mob.

By the end of the Middle Ages, heavy cavalry had been reduced to roughly equal
value on the battlefield in comparison to missile and foot troops. By this time,
the futility of charging well-emplaced and disciplined infantry was well
understood. The rules had changed. Stakes, horse traps, and trenches were
routinely employed by armies to protect against cavalry charges. Charges against
massed ranks of pikemen and archers/gunners left only a pile of broken horses
and men. Knights were forced to fight on foot or wait for the right opportunity
to charge. Devastating charges were still possible, but only when the enemy was
in flight, disorganized, or out from behind his temporary battlefield defenses.

Missile Troop Tactics

For most of this era missile troops were archers using one of several types of
bow. At first this was the short bow, then the crossbow and longbow. Archers had
the advantage of being able to kill and wound enemies at range without joining
in hand-to-hand combat. The value of these troops was well known in ancient
times, but the lessons were temporarily lost in the Dark Ages. The land-
controlling warrior knights were supreme in the early Middle Ages and their code
demanded hand-to-hand combat with a worthy enemy. Killing with arrows at a
distance was dishonorable to the knights so the ruling class did little to
develop this weapon and use it effectively.

It became apparent gradually, however, that archers were effective and very
useful, both in sieges and in battle. More and more armies made room for them,
if grudgingly. The decisive victory of William I at Hastings in 1066 may have
been won by archery, although his knights traditionally get the most credit. The
Anglo-Saxons held a hillside and were so packed into their shield-wall that the
Norman knights had great difficulty penetrating. The fighting flowed back and
forth all day. The Anglo-Saxons ventured out of their shield-wall, partly to get
at the Norman archers. When the Anglo-Saxons came out, they were easily run
down. For some time it seemed that the Normans must fail, but many believe that
Norman archery was winning the battle. A lucky shot mortally wounded Harold, the
Anglo-Saxon king, and the battle ended soon thereafter.

Foot archers fought in massed formations of hundreds or even thousands of men.
When within a hundred yards of the enemy, both crossbow and longbow shots could
penetrate armor. At this range, archers shot at individual targets. It was
maddening for the enemy to take this damage, especially if they could not
respond. In the ideal situation, the archers disrupted the enemy formation by
shooting into it for some time. The enemy might be safe from cavalry behind
stakes, but it could not block all the arrows or bolts coming in. If the enemy
left its protection and charged the archers, friendly heavy cavalry would
respond, hopefully in time to save the archers. If the enemy formation just
stood its ground, it might waver eventually to the point that cavalry could
charge effectively.

Archers were actively encouraged and subsidized in England because the English
were at a population disadvantage when waging war on the mainland. When the
English learned how to use large contingents of bowmen, they began winning
battles, even though they were usually outnumbered. The English developed the
arrow barrage, taking advantage of the range of the longbow. Instead of firing
at individual targets, the longbowmen fired into the area occupied by the enemy.
Firing up to 6 shots a minute, 3000 longbowmen could put 18,000 arrows into a
massed enemy formation. The effect of this barrage upon horses and men was
devastating. French knights in the Hundred Years War spoke of the sky being
black with arrows and of the noise of these missiles in flight.

Crossbowmen became prominent in mainland armies, especially in the militia and
professional forces raised by towns. With a minimum of training, a crossbowmen
became an effective soldier.

By the fourteenth century the first primitive handguns were appearing on the
battlefield. When these worked, they were even more powerful than bows.

The difficulty in using archers was protecting them while they shot. To be
effective they had to be fairly close to the enemy. English longbowmen carried
stakes onto the battlefield that they pounded into the ground with mallets in
front of the spot from which they wished to shoot. These stakes gave them some
protection from enemy cavalry. They relied on their firepower to fight off enemy
archers. They were at a disadvantage if attacked by enemy foot soldiers.
Crossbowmen carried a large pavise shield into battle. This came with supports
and could be set up in walls, from behind which the men could shoot.

By the end of the era, crossbowmen and pikemen were working together in combined
formations. The pikes kept enemy hand-to-hand troops away while the missile
troops (crossbowmen or handgunners) fired into the enemy formations. These mixed
formations learned how to move and actually attack. Enemy cavalry had to
withdraw in the face of a disciplined mixed force of pikemen and
crossbowmen/gunners. If the enemy could not respond with missiles and pikes of
their own, the battle was probably lost.

Infantry Tactics

The tactic of foot soldiers in the Dark Ages was simply to close with the enemy
and start chopping. The Franks threw their axes just before closing to disrupt
the enemy. Warriors relied on strength and ferocity to win.

The rise of knights put infantry into a temporary eclipse on the battlefield,
mainly because disciplined and well-trained infantry did not exist. The foot
soldiers of early medieval armies were mainly peasants who were poorly armed and

The Saxons and Vikings developed a defensive posture called the shield-wall. The
men stood adjacent and held their long shields together to form a barrier. This
helped to protect them from archers and cavalry, both of which their armies

Infantry underwent a revival in those areas that did not have the resources to
field armies of heavy cavalry-hilly countries like Scotland and Switzerland and
in the rising towns. Out of necessity, these two sectors found ways to field
effective armies that contained little or no cavalry. Both groups discovered
that horses would not charge into a barrier of bristling stakes or spear points.
A disciplined force of spearmen could stop the elite heavy cavalry of the richer
nations and lords, for a fraction of the cost of a heavy cavalry force.

The schiltron formation was a circle of spearmen that the Scots began using
during their wars for independence around the end of the thirteenth century
(featured in the motion picture Braveheart). They learned that the
schiltron was an effective defensive formation. Robert Bruce offered battle to
the English knights only in swampy terrain that greatly impeded the heavy
cavalry charge.

The Swiss became renowned for fighting with pikes. They essentially revived the
Greek phalanx and became very proficient at fighting with the long pole arms.
They formed a square of pikemen. The outer four ranks held their pikes nearly
level, pointing slightly down. This was an effective barrier against cavalry.
The rear ranks used bladed pole arms to attack enemies that closed with the
formation. The Swiss drilled to the point that they could move in formation
relatively quickly. They turned a defensive formation into an effective
attacking formation also.

The response to massed pikemen was artillery that plowed through the ranks of
dense formations. The Spanish appear to have first done this effectively. The
Spanish also fought the pikemen effectively with sword and buckler men. These
were lightly armed men who could get in among the pikes and fight effectively
with short swords. Their buckler was a small and handy shield. At the end of the
Middle Ages, the Spanish also first experimented with the combination of
pikemen, swordsmen, and handgunners in the same formation. This was an effective
force that could take on all arms in varying terrain, on both defense and
attack. At the end of this era the Spanish were the most effective fighting
force in Europe.

| The Mongols |

The nomadic horse peoples of Mongolia assembled the world's largest land empire
in a series of military conquests spread over a few generations, beginning in
the twelfth century. In the course of their conquests, the Mongols fought most
of the other world powers of medieval Asia and Europe, winning in almost every
case. Their empire was built entirely on military conquest, thanks to an army
that was unlike any other in the world. They were thought invincible by most of
their opponents. Their campaign into Europe turned back only after a death in
the ruling family. The possible claimants to the throne headed home with their
forces and never returned.

The Mongol Army

The Mongols were nomadic herders and hunters who spent their lives in the
saddles of their steppe ponies. They learned to ride and use weapons, especially
the composite bow, at an early age. For hunting and war, every able-bodied male
under the age of 60 years was expected to take part. The armies of the united
Mongol tribes consisted of the entire adult male population.

They fought under a strict code of discipline. Booty was held collectively. The
penalty was death for abandoning a comrade in battle. This discipline, together
with leadership, intelligence-gathering, and organization, raised the Mongol
force from a cavalry swarm into a true army.

The Mongol army was organized according to a decimal system, with units of 10,
100, 1000, and 10,000 men. These numbers for units were probably rarely
approached due to casualties and attrition. The 10,000-man unit was the major
fighting unit, like a modern division, capable of sustained fighting on its own.
Individual soldiers identified most with the 1000-man unit of which they were a
part, the equivalent of a modern regiment. Original Mongol tribes fielded their
own 1000-man units. Conquered peoples, such as the Tatars and Merkits, were
broken up and distributed among other units so that they could pose no organized
threat to the ruling family.

Genghis Khan created a personal guard unit of 10,000 men. This unit was
recruited across tribal boundaries and selection was a high honor. In its early
stages it served as a form of honorable hostage-holding. It grew into the family
household and the source of the growing empire's ruling class.

Mongol soldiers at first received no pay other than booty. Advancement was based
on merit. Once the rapid conquests slowed, a new system of pay was put in place.
Officers were later able to pass on their posts to heirs.

Each soldier went on campaign with approximately five horses, allowing quick
changes and rapid movements. No comparable armies moved as rapidly as the
Mongols until the mechanized armies of the twentieth century.

The Mongols fought mainly as light cavalry archers (unarmored), using the
compound bow. This was a compact weapon of impressive range and penetration
power. They employed Chinese and Middle Easterners as siege engineers. Infantry,
garrison troops, and heavy cavalry (wearing armor) that used lances came from
the armies of subjected peoples.

Mongol Tactics

The Mongol armies relied on firepower, the ability to move quickly, and a
reputation for ruthlessness that came to precede them. All of their opponents
moved much more slowly and deliberately. The Mongols looked for opportunities to
divide an enemy force and overwhelm the pieces with rapid bowshots. They sought
to surround or encircle enemies and achieve local superiority of numbers. Horses
of mounted enemies were wounded, dismounting the riders and making them more

The Mongol light cavalry could not stand against a heavy cavalry charge, so they
feigned flight to draw the knights into exhaustive charges that left them
vulnerable. The fleeing Mongols turned rapidly and became the hunter. They
excelled in setting ambushes and surprise attacks. Mongol army leaders made
great use of scouts and synchronized force movements to catch the enemy at a

The Mongols made extensive use of terror. If the population of one city was
massacred after capture, the next city was more likely to surrender without a
fight. This proved the case, as city after city surrendered upon the approach of
Mongol armies.


Fortifications and earthworks had been employed for defense since the Stone Age.
True castles did not appear in Europe until the ninth century, however, partly
in response to Viking raids and partly as a manifestation of decentralized
feudal political power. From the ninth through the fifteenth century, thousands
of castles were constructed throughout Europe. A 1905 census in France counted
more than 10,000 castle remains in that nation alone.

During the feudal period, local nobles provided law and order, as well as
protection from marauders like the Vikings. Castles were built by the nobles for
protection and to provide a secure base from which local military forces could
operate. The obvious defensive value of a castle obscures the fact that it was
primarily an offensive instrument. It functioned as a base for professional
soldiers, mainly cavalry, which controlled the nearby countryside. At a time
when the centralized authority of kings was weak for a number of reasons, a
network of castles and the military forces they supported provided relative
political stability.

| Castle Evolution |

Beginning in the ninth century, local strongmen began dotting the landscape of
Europe with castles. These were first of simple design and construction but
evolved into stone strongholds. Many of these belonged to kings or the vassals
of kings, but the majority appear to have been built out of self-interest by
local nobles. They were justified by barbarian threats, but the nobles employed
them to establish local control. This was possible because Europe had no
strategic defenses and no strong central authorities at the time.

An example of the castellation of Europe was the Poitou region of France. There
were three castles there before Viking raids began in the ninth century and 39
by the eleventh century. This pattern was repeated across Europe. Castles could
be built quickly. Until the appearance of cannon, castle defenders had a great
advantage over any attackers.

Widespread castle construction and the maintenance of large bodies of soldiers
for their defense resulted not in peace and mutual defense against invaders but
incessant warfare.

The Evolution of the Castle

The earliest castles were of a type called the "motte and bailey." The motte was
a broad, leveled mound of earth, typically 50 feet high. A large wooden tower
was built atop the motte. Below the motte was an enclosure within a wooden
palisade called the bailey. Here were placed storehouses, stock pens, and huts.
Both the motte and bailey were small islands surrounded by a water-filled ditch,
excavated to construct the motte. A bridge and steep narrow path connected the
two parts of the castle. At a time of danger, the defensive forces withdrew into
the tower if the bailey could not be held.

In the eleventh century, stone began replacing earth and wood in castle
construction. The wooden tower atop the motte was replaced with a round stone
fortification called a shell keep. This grew into a tower or keep. A curtain
wall of stone enclosed the old bailey and the keep, and was in turn surrounded
by a ditch or moat. A single fortified gate protected by a drawbridge and
portcullis led into the castle. The best-known example of a basic keep-type
castle is the original Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror. This
large square structure stood by itself at first and was whitewashed to draw
attention. Later kings improved this castle with the curtain walls and other
improvements seen today.

Castle design advanced when crusaders to the East returned with news of the
fortifications and siege engines they had encountered in their travels.
Concentric castles were designed that enclosed a central keep within two or more
rings of walls. Walls were strengthened first with square towers and then with
round towers. The angled corners on square towers were easy to shear off, making
the whole tower very vulnerable. Round towers were more resistant to attack.
Embattlements were added at the top of walls and towers to make fighting from
above more effective.

Cannon appeared in Europe in the early fourteenth century, but effective siege
artillery was not used until the middle fifteenth century. Castle designs
changed in response to the power of cannon. High perpendicular walls were
replaced by low sloping walls. By the middle of the fifteenth century castles
were in decline because of the rising power of kings. In the eleventh century
William the Conqueror claimed ownership of all castles in England to get them
out of the hands of nobles. By the thirteenth century it was necessary to ask a
king's permission to build a castle or strengthen an existing one. Kings worked
to demilitarize castles to minimize their usefulness to potential rebels.

Castles were abandoned as living quarters for nobles and fell into ruin.
Fortified towns were increasingly important because the wealth of the land had
shifted to the cities.

Castle Construction

Construction of a castle might take less than a year or up to 20 years to
complete. For several centuries castle-building was an important industry.
Renowned master masons were in high demand and gangs of castle builders moved
from site to site. Towns wishing to build cathedrals had to compete for skilled
workers with lords wishing to build castles.

Construction of Beaumaris Castle in North Wales began in 1295. The design was
symmetrical, with no weak points. At the height of its building, it required the
effort of 30 blacksmiths, 400 masons, and 2000 laborers. Laborers did most of
the excavation, carrying, lifting, well-digging, and stone-breaking. This
particular castle was never completed. The massive castle at Conway, built in
Wales by Edward I of England, took 40 months to build.

Castle walls were masonry shells filled with stone rubble and flint mixed with
mortar. Wall width ranged from 6 to 16 feet.

| Castle Defense |

The basic principal of castle defense was to maximize the danger and exposure of
any attackers while minimizing the same for defenders. A well-designed castle
could be defended effectively by a small force and hold out for a long period. A
stout defense allowed well-supplied defenders to hold out until the besiegers
could be driven away by a relief force or until the attacker was forced to fall
back by lack of supplies, disease, or losses.


The keep was a small castle often found within a large castle complex. This was
a fortified building that often served as the castle lord's residence. If the
outer walls fell, the defenders could withdraw into the keep for a final
defense. In the case of many castles, the complex began with the keep, which was
the original fortification on the site. Over time, the complex might have been
expanded to include an outer wall and towers as a first line of defense for the


Stone walls were fireproof and protection against arrows and other missiles. An
enemy could not climb sheer walls without equipment such as ladders or siege
towers. Defenders on top of the walls could shoot down or throw objects down
against attackers. Attackers wholly exposed in the open and shooting up were at
a great disadvantage against defenders largely protected and shooting down. The
strength and protection value of castle walls was increased where possible by
building on cliffs or other elevations. Gates and doors in castle walls were
minimized and given heavy protection.


At the corners of and perhaps at intervals along a long wall, towers were placed
as strong points. Towers extended out beyond the vertical plane of the wall
face, allowing defenders in a tower to shoot along the face. From a corner
tower, defenders could shoot along two different wall faces. A gate might be
protected by towers on each side. Some castles began as simple towers and
evolved into a greater complex of walls, an inner keep, and additional towers.


Walls and towers were often improved to provide greater protection for
defenders. A platform behind the top of the wall allowed defenders to stand and
fight. Gaps were built into the upper wall so defenders could shoot out or fight
while partially covered. These gaps might have wooden shutters for additional
protection. Thin firing slits might be placed in the upper walls from which
archers could shoot while almost completely protected.

During an assault, covered wooden platforms (called hourds) were extended out
from the top of the walls or from towers. These allowed defenders to shoot
directly down on enemies below the walls, or drop stones or boiling liquids on
them, while being protected. Hides on top of the hourds were kept wet to prevent
fire. Stone versions of hourds, called machicolations, might be built over gates
or other key points.

Ditches, Moats, and Drawbridges

To accentuate the height advantage of the walls, a ditch might be dug at their
base, completely around the castle. Where possible, this ditch was filled with
water to form a moat. Both ditches and moats made direct assaults against walls
more difficult. Armored men risked drowning if they fell into even relatively
shallow water. Moats made undermining a castle's walls difficult because of the
risk of the mine collapsing during construction and drowning the miners. In some
cases, attackers had to first drain the moat before moving forward with an
assault. Then the ditch had to be filled in places to allow siege towers or
ladders to go up against the wall.

Drawbridges across a moat or ditch allowed the castle occupants to come and go
when necessary. In time of danger, the drawbridge was raised, reestablishing the
ditch and sealing the walls. Bridges were raised by a mechanism within the
castle that was protected from the attackers.


A portcullis was a strong grating that slid down the walls of the castle gate
passageway to block the entrance. The gate of a castle was inside a gatehouse,
which was a strong point in the castle defense. The passageway of the gate might
be through a tunnel in the gatehouse. The tunnel was blocked by one or more
portcullises, in the middle or at the ends. The winding mechanism that raised
the portcullis was in the top of the gatehouse and heavily guarded. The
portcullis itself was usually a grating of heavy timbers or iron. Defenders and
attackers could both shoot or stab through the grating.


A strong castle had both an outer gate and inner gate. Between the two was an
open area called the barbican. This was surrounded by walls and designed to be a
trap for any attackers who got through the outside gate. Once inside the
barbican, attackers could only go back out the outer gate or fight their way
through the inner gate. In the meantime they would be targets for arrows and
other missiles in the open.


A relatively small number of men could guard a castle in peacetime. At night any
drawbridge was raised and the portcullis was lowered, effectively locking the
door. Under threat of an assault, a much larger force was needed to defend a

Competent archers and crossbowmen were needed to shoot from the walls and towers
at attackers making an assault or just preparing for one by attempting to drain
the moat or fill the ditch. Each attacking casualty lowered the morale and
fighting power of the attackers. Heavy losses from missile fire could cause the
attackers to break off.

If the attackers managed to actually close for hand-to-hand fighting, a strong
fighting force of swordsmen was needed to hold them off. Men were needed to
throw down rocks or pour hot liquids from the hourds. Men were needed to make
repairs to damaged wall sections or put out fires started by flaming missiles.
An aggressive defense looked for opportunities to sortie out from the castle and
raid the besieging army. A quick raid that burned a siege tower or trebuchet
under construction delayed an assault and lowered the morale of the attackers.

In times of emergency, local peasants were enlisted to help with the defense.
Although untrained as soldiers and not skilled usually with the bow or sword,
they could help with many of the other tasks.

| Castle Siege |

Capturing or defending strongholds was a common military activity during the
late Middle Ages because of the proliferation of castles and fortified towns and
their strategic importance. Although a small force could hold a castle, it took
a large force to take one. The attacker had to have a sufficiently large army to
control the countryside around a castle, fight off any relieving force, and
assault the stronghold directly or at least hold the siege tight. This was an
expensive proposition.

As an army approached the castle, the locals usually withdrew inside, taking
anything of value with them, especially food and weapons. If the siege was
expected to be a long one, however, peasants not capable of fighting might be
refused entrance to conserve food. There were many recorded instances of people
being thrown out of towns under siege to preserve food. When English king Henry
V besieged the city of Rouen, the defenders expelled the weak and the poor to
conserve food. The English refused to allow these unfortunates through their
lines. Old men, women, and children huddled between the city and the English
army for months, scrabbling for scraps and dying of starvation, until surrender
was negotiated.

As an army approached, the possibility of surrender and terms might be
negotiated immediately, especially if the castle or town was undermanned. The
attackers weighed carefully the chance of assaulting the stronghold if
negotiations failed. If a quick assault was thrown back or was judged too risky,
the attackers sealed off the castle and began a siege. Once siege artillery had
fired at the city, the siege was officially underway. To withdraw without good
reason was dishonorable and unacceptable in most cases.

A large siege was something like a social event. The fifteenth-century siege of
Neuss lasted only a few months, but the attackers built up a large camp that
included taverns and tennis courts. Nobles taking part in sieges made themselves
comfortable, often bringing along wives and their households. Merchants and
craftsmen from neighboring towns rushed forward to set up shop and provide

Siege Formalities

The reality of warfare during this period was that castles and towns were very
rarely captured by assault. Assaults were usually an act of desperation or made
much easier by acts of treachery or stealth. Unless the garrison was greatly
under strength, it was just too costly in lives to assault. It was much more
typical to orchestrate a siege according to the prevailing rules of warfare and
honor and take the castle with relatively little loss. It would be treason for
the defenders to surrender without a fight so the siege was maintained and the
castle walls were battered. If the castle's owner was not inside, his deputy in
charge, called a castellan or constable, could surrender the castle with honor
after so many days if no relief force had appeared. Castellans often requested a
contract that specified exactly what were their obligations and under what
circumstances they would not be punished for surrendering.

In those rare instances where surrender was not an option or an option
disdained, it was the accepted policy that little mercy was shown after a
successful assault. Common soldiers and even civilians inside might be massacred
and the castle or town was looted. Captured knights were kept alive, usually,
and held for ransom. All attackers received a share of the spoils. Practical
application of this policy was a further inducement for defenders to negotiate
surrender after a reasonable period of siege. King Henry V of England took the
city of Caen after a long siege in 1417. He then allowed his army to sack the
city from one end to the other in payment for the defender's stout resistance.
Every man in the city who was not a priest was killed. At his next stop, the
castle of Bonneville, the defenders agreed to surrender the keys after seven
days with no relief, even though both sides understood there was no prospect for

The Krak des Chevaliers was the most famous of the Crusader castles in the
Middle East and still stands impressively in modern Syria. It was defended by
the Knights Hospitaller during the era of the Crusades and withstood over a
dozen sieges and attacks over 130 years before falling finally to Egyptian Arabs
in 1271. The story of its capture was unusual but typical in the sense that the
defenders did not fight to the death.

The Arabs disdained an attack on the main gate of the Krak des Chevaliers
because breaking through there led into a series of deadly narrow passages and
on to a second, even stronger gate. They attacked the south wall instead by
undermining the great tower at the southwest corner. This got them inside the
outer curtain wall. Before attacking the even stronger central keep, however,
they tried a ruse. A carrier pigeon was sent into the castle with a message from
the Hospitaller's grand master, ordering the garrison to surrender. Outnumbered
and with no hope of relief, the defenders accepted the command of the message,
understanding it was a fake, and surrendered the great castle with honor.


The key problem to taking a castle or fortified town was overcoming the walls
that prevented entry and protected the defenders. One solution to this problem
was undermining a section of the wall so that it collapsed. This was only
possible before castles had moats or after the moat had been drained. It was not
possible to undermine when the wall was built on solid stone.

The miners dug a tunnel up to the wall and then along it under its foundation.
The tunnel was supported by timber supports that gradually took on the load of
the wall overhead from the earth that was dug out and removed. At a prearranged
time, the timbers in the tunnel were set on fire. As the timbers burned the
support for the wall overhead disappeared gradually and a section of the wall
collapsed, if all went as planned. The collapsed wall created an opening for a
direct assault by soldiers into the castle.

Mines were laborious and time-consuming. Defenders who became aware of the
tunneling reinforced the threatened wall with a secondary wall so that the
collapse did not completely open the defenses. Defenders were also known to
countermine, digging their own tunnels under the walls trying to intercept the
enemy tunnel. When the tunnels encountered each other, actual fighting broke out


The besieging army set up positions around the castle to prevent escape or
sorties by the soldiers inside. The nearby farms and villages were taken over by
the besiegers. Patrols were set to bring notice of any relieving army
approaching and to forage for food. The leaders of the attackers examined the
situation and decided whether to simply besiege the castle or to actively
prepare to attack it. If the castle was to be simply starved into surrender, the
attackers concentrated on keeping the defenders caged in and preventing any
relief force from lifting the siege. Choosing how best to attack a castle might
involve any of the following options:

*  Undermining a part of the wall.
*  Selecting a wall section to breach by battering it
    with hurled stones (or with cannons, although
    these were not effective until around 1450,
    near the end of this period).
*  Selecting a part of the ditch (and moat, if
    present) to fill.
*  Building siege towers and ladders to scale the
*  Choosing a gate or other section to batter with
    a ram.

The speed of work on assault preparations was in proportion to the urgency for
taking the castle, the prospects of surrender, and the manpower available. If
the attackers had ample supplies of food, no relief was expected, and the
defenders were likely to surrender after their honor had been satisfied, work on
assault preparations might be little more than a show. If the attacker's
supplies were short, relief was expected any day, or the defenders were
obstinate, preparations might go forward day and night.

When preparations were complete, the defenders were given one last chance to
surrender before the assault.

Siege Equipment

Siege equipment was used to get past the walls and other defenses of the castle
so that the superior strength of the attacking army could be brought to bear
against the defenders at a minimum disadvantage. Most equipment was designed to
knock down or breach the walls. In addition to the simple scaling ladder, siege
equipment most commonly used during the Middle Ages included the trebuchet, the
mangonel, the siege tower, the battering ram, and the pavise.

Once a breach was made or a siege tower put in place, a volunteer force of
soldiers led the assault. This force came to be known as the "forlorn hope,"
because of the casualties they were expected to take. But the successful
survivors of this force were usually the most highly rewarded with promotion,
titles, and loot.

The trebuchet was a large catapult powered by a heavy counterweight, usually a
large box of rocks. The long throwing arm was pulled down against the mass of
the counterweight and a large stone was loaded. When the arm was released, the
heavy weight dropped down, pulling the throwing arm up, and flinging the large
stone missile in a high arcing trajectory. Missiles thrown by this weapon
plunged downward and were best used to smash the tops of towers, embattlements,
and hourds. It was difficult to damage sheer vertical walls with the trebuchet
unless the missiles came down right on top of the wall. The trebuchet was
assembled out of bow shot and defended against a possible sortie by the
defenders seeking to burn the weapon. The trebuchet was useful for smashing
wooden roofs and then setting the rubble on fire with incendiary missiles.

The mangonel was a different type of catapult powered by twisted ropes or strips
of hide. A ratchet gear twisted the ropes, building up tension. When released,
the ropes spun, flinging the throwing arm forward. When the arm hit a heavy
restraining bar, any missile in the basket at the end of the arm was thrown
forward. The restraining bar could be adjusted to change the trajectory of the
missile. Mangonels had a flat trajectory, in comparison to the trebuchet, but
could generate the same power. It could take a large number of mangonel shots to
do any appreciable damage to a wall. The thrown missiles and pieces of the
broken wall helped to fill in the ditch, however, creating rubble pile which
attackers could climb.

Siege towers were moved close to the walls and then a gangplank was dropped from
the tower to the top of the wall. Soldiers in the tower could then advance
across the gangplank and engage the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Such a
tower was often huge. It had to be protected with wet hides to prevent being
burned. It was ponderous to move because of its weight. It had to be either
pushed forward or pulled forward against pulleys previously mounted on stakes
near the base of the castle wall. The ground had to be prepared ahead of time,
usually with a roadway of flat wooden planking on heavily packed earth to ease
the tower's movement. A fighting area on top of the tower let archers shoot down
into the castle as the tower approached. Soldiers mounted the stairs inside the
tower once it was close. Assaults from a siege tower were never a surprise to
the defender because so much preparation had to be done. The defenders took
steps to build up the threatened part of the wall or prevent the gangplank from
dropping. They attempted to grapple the tower as it approached and pull it onto
its side. Up to the last moment of the assault, siege engines would fire on the
target section of wall to disrupt the defender's preparations to receive the
assault. If the first group of attackers from the tower got over, a steady
stream of men would follow over the gangplank to complete the capture of the

A battering ram had a large pole with an iron head that was slung inside a
moveable housing and rolled up to a wall section or gate. Once up to the wall,
the pole was swung back and forth against the wall. The force of the blows broke
through the wooden planking of the door or stone wall, creating an opening for
attack. The roof of the ram was covered with wet hides to prevent burning.
Operating battering was dangerous work. Enemies above dropped large rocks,
boiling water, or burning fat on the ram, attempting to destroy it or kill the
men operating it. Even when a gate or drawbridge was smashed, there were usually
several portcullises and the gatehouse to be fought through. At the siege of
Tyre during the winter of 1111-1112, the defending Arabs came up with an
ingenious defense against the ram. They threw down gappling hooks, grabbed the
ram, and pulled it away from the wall. Time after time they were able to disrupt
the use of the ram.

Attacking archers and crossbowmen took shelter on the ground behind large wooden
shields called pavises. A narrow firing slit at the top of the pavise allowed
the man behind to shoot up at the defenders. England's King Richard I, the
Lionheart, received a mortal shoulder wound from a crossbow bolt when looking
around the side of a pavise.


The Chinese had gunpowder by the eleventh century and made some military use of
it to propel rockets. These were more weapons of terror than useful missile
weapons, however. The Chinese also experimented with fireworks. They did not
realize the potential of gunpowder as an explosive or propellant for missile

Gunpowder gradually worked its way to the west where Europeans found much more
destructive uses for it. The oldest surviving artwork from Europe that portrays
a gunpowder weapon appeared in 1326. This primitive cannon was loaded with a
spear of some sort, not a cannonball. Europeans had been experimenting with
gunpowder for the previous half-century. The oldest surviving description of the
formula for gunpowder appeared in 1260 and was attributed to an English friar
named Roger Bacon. By 1340 cannonballs of lead, iron, and stone were being used.
The English had cannons on the battlefield at Crιcy in 1346, but there is no
mention in the battle accounts of their usefulness.


It took several centuries of experimentation before gunpowder weapons became
truly useful. One difficulty was developing gunpowder that ignited quickly,
uniformly, and powerfully. Another was designing suitable cannons that would not
burst. Poor manufacturing techniques plagued early cannons, and it was almost as
dangerous to serve them as to be shot at by them. King James II of Scotland, for
example, was killed by an exploding cannon in 1460.

Cannon and gunpowder technologies were sufficiently advanced by the middle of
the fifteenth century that they were recognized as important weapons. This was
made clear in 1453 when huge siege bombards firing massive stone cannonballs
battered the walls of Constantinople. Although the proximate cause of the fall
of Constantinople was a small gate being left open, the bombardment would have
eventually made a direct assault possible.

Cannons of the Middle Ages were used in sieges to batter walls and on
battlefields to fire into massed ranks of the enemy. Their ability to batter
sheer vertical walls led to refinements in castle-building. Low sloping walls
replaced high vertical walls. The usefulness of cannon on the battlefield was
limited during this period because the cannons were so ponderous. It was
difficult to move them into new positions during the action.


Illustrations of various types of handguns appeared around 1350. These were
primitive weapons consisting of a hollow tube blocked at one end and a hole in
the side near the blocked end for igniting the powder. A slow match (a slow-
burning cord) was placed in the hole to ignite the powder and fire the ball
previously loaded down the barrel. There was little use in attempting to aim the
early handguns. They were effective only when fired in volleys by many men at
massed targets. By 1450 handguns were being used by most of the advanced
European armies. Bows and crossbows continued in use as infantry missile weapons
through the sixteenth century, however, because they were still inexpensive and

         Naval Warfare

The need for warships in the Mediterranean Sea largely faded after the Romans
gained complete control of the surrounding lands. There was no other empire with
a navy to offer competition, and piracy was all but eliminated. Following the
collapse of the Western Roman Empire, new civilizations sprang up from the ruins
of the empire and piracy reappeared. Warships were needed again to defend
against invasion, project military power, and protect sea trade routes.

Byzantine Ships

The Byzantines were the great Mediterranean naval power of the early Middle
Ages. Naval power was critical to their survival and to their extended empire.
The land defenses of Constantinople were excellent and made outright assault of
the city very difficult, but the city had to keep its sea supply open to prevent
a successful siege. So long as the navy could bring in supplies, the city was
assured of survival.

The main Byzantine warship of the early Middle Ages was the dromen, an evolution
of the ancient oared warships, such as the trireme. A typical dromen was long
and narrow for speed. Power was supplied by 50 to 200 rowers and lateen sails. A
mast was placed in the middle of the front half and rear half of the ship. The
dromen carried a beak at the bow for pinning enemy vessels prior to boarding.
Rams were rarely seen. Platforms were built in the center, bow, and stern. From
these platforms archers and catapults could fire at enemy ships and crews. A
typical battle involved attempts to ram or disable enemy ships, then grappling
and boarding by marines.

The Byzantines effectively used a secret weapon called Greek fire. This was a
mixture of chemicals that burned fiercely upon contact with air. It was pumped
out of hoses against enemy ships or thrown in bombs. It was a devastating weapon
against wooden ships and decisive for the Byzantines in their naval battles
against the Arabs. The secret of Greek fire was so important and so closely
guarded that it was eventually lost and we do not know today exactly what it

Mediterranean Ships

Oar-powered warships, called galleys, remained the principal warships of the
Mediterranean beyond the end of the Middle Ages because the waters were
relatively protected from fierce gales. At the same time, the Italian city-
states of Genoa and Venice gradually became naval powers in proportion to the
increasing importance of their trade with the Levant. The Arabs also built
navies to influence trade and support their conflict with the Byzantines and
other Christians for control of the Mediterranean. The beginning of the Crusades
in the eleventh century brought ships from Northern Europe that had evolved very
different designs.

European Ships

The Germanic tribes that occupied Northern Europe around 500 developed several
new ship types. The typical trading ship was wide-bodied and of deep draft. It
mounted a single mast at first and later more as it grew in size. The Norse
called this type of ship a knarr. We know a lot about this ship today because
one was recovered from the bottom of a harbor in Denmark in the 1960s. Much of
the trade and exploration of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings was carried on in this
type of ship. It evolved into the cog, the principal merchant ship of the later
Middle Ages. This deep-draft ship was designed for easy sailing and high cargo

Ship fighting in northern Europe was mainly an extension of land combat. Towers
were built on the bow and stern of the cog for protection and as firing
platforms for archers. Crews fired at each other with arrows as they closed, but
the intent was only to disable enemy crewmen and soldiers. Ships came together
and attempted to capture each other in hand-to-hand combat. Sailing ships in
these waters had no ability to ram. There was no weapon with which to do great
structural damage to another ship or sink it until cannon appeared in the
fourteenth century. Some 400 English and French cog-type warships carrying large
contingents of archers and foot soldiers engaged in a naval battle at Sluys in
1340 typical of the later Middle Ages. They simply jammed together for archery
fire and close combat.

The first cannon were mounted in the bow or stern of ships. Small cannon mounted
on the side rails were used against enemy crews. The English ship Christopher of
the Tower of 1406 was the first built purposely to carry guns. Ships began to
mount broadsides of cannon with the ability to puncture enemy hulls only at the
very end of the Middle Ages.

The Viking longship was more of a transport than a warship. Vikings rarely
fought from their longships. When they did, there are reports of boats being
lashed together to provide a platform for hand-to-hand fighting. The longship
was powered by oars until the eighth or ninth century when sails appear to have
been added. Although they looked fragile and unlikely vessels for ocean travel,
modern replicas proved to be very seaworthy. The additional range provided by
sails explains partially why the Vikings began reaching out to raid in the ninth

The Irish curragh was a small boat used mainly for coastal trading and travel
but capable of deep ocean sailing also. This boat was built of animal hides
stretched over a wooden frame. The hide skin was sealed with pitch for
waterproofing. These incredibly light boats were powered with a small sail or
could be rowed. In rough weather the hide covering could be closed to make the
boat watertight and relatively unsinkable. Irish monks explored the North
Atlantic in these boats and reached Iceland long before the Vikings. There are
unsubstantiated tales that monks sailed to the New World as well.

The Crusades brought northern ships into the Mediterranean and contact between
the sailors and shipbuilders of north and south. The southerners began adopting
features of the cog, including its big hull and square sail. The northerners
learned about the compass, stern rudder, and lateen sail.

Chinese Ships

The greatest shipbuilders of the Middle Ages were probably the Chinese. The
familiar Chinese junk was a better ship than anything available in the West for
many centuries. It was an excellent combination of cargo space, sailing ability,
and seaworthiness. In 1405, Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho built a huge navy manned by
25,000 men and explored much of the Southwest Pacific and Indian Oceans. The
rulers of China disdained this feat and its discoveries. The greatest ships in
the world at the time were beached and allowed to rot.

         The Middle Ages

The expression "Middle Ages" has been employed by Western civilization to define
the 1000 years that span European history from roughly 500 to 1500 AD. The
beginning of the Middle Ages is marked by the fall of the Western Roman Empire,
the generally accepted end of classical ancient history. The end of the Middle
Ages is noted by the beginning of the Renaissance (the "rebirth" of Europe).
Events marking the end of the period include the fall of Constantinople in 1453,
the first use of the printing press in 1456, the European discovery of the
Americas in 1492, the Protestant Reformation, triggered by Martin Luther in
1517, and the flowering of the arts in Italy. The Middle Ages thus fall in the
middle between ancient and modern history.

Historic periods in Asia and the Middle East do not fit easily into the concept
of a European Middle Age. China evolved gradually from prehistoric times up to
the advent of Western modern history without the great disruptions that befell
Europe. China passed under the control of several dynasties and suffered from
invasion, but the basic culture progressed steadily. Japan progressed steadily,
as well, and was left largely alone. The history of the Middle East fits
together more closely with the European Middle Ages because these two regions
were adjacent and shared many interactions.

| The Fall of Rome |

The Roman Empire of the fourth century AD extended entirely around the basin of
the Mediterranean Sea, including modern Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and North Africa.
Modern France (called Gaul) and modern Spain and Portugal (Iberia) were entirely
Roman. Modern England was Roman, but modern Scotland and Ireland were barbarian
(non-Roman, or noncivilized). The northern borders of the empire were the Rhine
and Danube Rivers. The lands north of these rivers were occupied by a variety of
tribes of Scandinavian origin that the Romans called the Germans.

Rome was engaged in border skirmishes with the tribes north of the great
European rivers. Strong emperors occasionally extended the empire over the
rivers while weak emperors tended to lose those lands. The largest organized
rival of the Romans was the Persian Empire to the east, occupying modern Syria,
Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Persians were the political descendants of the
Parthians who had revolted away from Greek rule following Alexander's conquests
and thereafter resisted successfully Roman invasions.

The Romans had existed as an important power for over 1000 years. They had
brought stability, prosperity, and order to the civilized West. Excellent roads
connected the far reaches of the empire with the capital at Rome. These were
built originally for military purposes but improved all communications and
trade. Roman law kept the internal peace and 20 to 30 Roman legions defended the

All was not perfect, however. Emperors held absolute authority. This worked well
with good emperors, but incompetent ones could do great harm. The rules for
succession to the throne were never clear, and debilitating civil wars often
resulted. The bureaucracy that managed the empire on a daily basis grew more
corrupt, increasing the dissatisfaction of the common citizen. The wealth of the
empire gradually concentrated in the hands of a minority while a large slave
population did most of the work. The borders of the empire were immense and put
a strain on military resources (500,000 soldiers defended a frontier that
required 3 million or more to be secure). Roman conquests had ceased in the
second century AD, bringing an end to massive inflows of plunder and slaves.
Taxes increased and production fell as the workforce declined. A plague may have
killed 20 percent of the empire's population in the third and fourth centuries,
further reducing trade and production.

In the late third century, the Roman Empire was split into eastern and western
halves in an attempt to make for easier rule and better control. In 323
Constantine became emperor after a civil war and established his eastern capital
at Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. During the next century the
eastern and western parts of the empire gradually established separate
identities, although nominally the same empire. These identities were partially
due to the different pressures brought to bear on them from the outside and the
local culture. The Western Empire was predominately Latin; the Eastern Empire
was predominately Greek (although they referred to themselves as Romans). The
Eastern Empire survived the cataclysm of the third and fourth centuries because
it had a larger population (70 percent of the empire's total), better emperors,
more money, and a far better army and navy.

| Barbarian Invaders |

Around the year 200 AD, nomadic tribes on the great grass steppes of Central
Asia began migrating toward China, India, Persia, and Europe. The reasons for
this migration are not fully understood. The largest group of nomads was the
Huns. Their small stature and small ponies belied a fierce and determined
ruthlessness. They terrified other tribes they encountered in their migrations,
causing something like a domino effect. Moving west, the Huns displaced the
Goths living northwest of the Black Sea, for example, who pushed south over the
Danube into the Balkans lands ruled by the Eastern Roman Empire. More Huns moved
toward the German plains, encouraging other Germanic tribes to cross the Rhine.

The Western Roman Empire was already weakened by this time from sporadic raids
and invasions across the Rhine and Danube. Germanic tribes with growing
populations coveted the sparsely occupied lands in Gaul and the benefits of
being within the Roman Empire. By 400 the Roman army was already 30 to 50
percent German mercenaries. In desperation, some barbarian groups were enlisted
into the Roman army as entire units to help defend against other groups. This
was especially popular during civil wars of the fourth century, when pretenders
to the throne in Rome needed to raise armies quickly. These barbarian units did
not have the loyalty and discipline of the legions and kept their own leaders.
This stopgap measure backfired when whole barbarian armies revolted. The Rhine
and Danube frontiers dissolved and Germanic tribes moved into Gaul, the Balkans,
and even Italy itself. The fighting was nearly incessant along the shrinking
frontier and the number of loyal Roman troops continually diminished.

The last legions in Britain were withdrawn for service in Gaul in 410,
abandoning that province forever. Saxon raids increased and became actual
invasions. The Jutes, Frisians, and Angles, other Germanic tribes from the north
German coast, joined the Saxons. Together they overwhelmed the Romano-British
culture and took possession of what is today England (Angle-land).

The Eastern Roman Empire suffered through the loss of most of the Balkans but
was able to deflect or bribe the barbarians before they could attack
Constantinople. The invaders in this area were the Goths, who had become much
more civilized through their contact with the Eastern Empire than had the
Germanic tribes along the Rhine. The Goths came as settlers primarily, not

During the fifth century Rome was sacked several times and the Western Empire
ceased to exist effectively. Italy was repeatedly invaded and ravaged. In 476
the last recognized Roman emperor was killed. Italy and the old Roman Empire
were now occupied by Germanic tribes. Despite a general wish by the barbarians
to preserve the stability and order of the past Roman civilization, only
vestiges of it survived the turmoil and devastation that followed the invasions.
Most of Europe fell back into a much more primitive and barbaric period.

         The Dark Ages

Following the fall of Rome, western Europe entered what has been called the Dark
Ages. This name was applied partially because so much of the Roman civilization
was destroyed and replaced by a more barbaric culture. The name was used also
because so little written history survived from the period that shed light on
the events that took place.

| Politics |

The Roman government and courts were swept away with most of the Roman culture.
Tribal war bands were the new government. A strong leader surrounded himself
with loyal warriors that were paid with booty from raiding. Tribal law, based on
trial by combat or by the swearing of oaths, replaced Roman law. Small kingdoms
arose gradually based on tribal loyalties, but governing was difficult because
literate civil servants were scarce, communications were poor, trade was at a
standstill, and there was little or no money in circulation. The people survived
on a subsistence agriculture. Life at this time was described as nasty, brutish,
and short. The average life expectancy was 30 years, skewed by a very low
survival rate for children and a high mortality of women in childbirth.

At the start of the Dark Ages, the list of European powers read as follows:

*  Franks: much of modern France and parts of
    Germany along the Rhine.
*  Ostrogoths: northern Italy, Switzerland, and
    the Balkans.
*  Visigoths: Spain and Portugal.
*  Vandals: Western North Africa, Sicily, and
    southern Italy.
*  Various Germanic tribes, including Saxons and
    Lombards: Germany.
*  Anglo-Saxons: England.
*  Celts: Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany.
*  Magyars: Hungary.
*  Slavs: Poland and western Russia.
*  Byzantines: Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and
    much of the Balkans, including Greece.

In succeeding centuries, the list saw the following changes:

*  Vandals: destroyed and replaced by the
*  Visigoths: destroyed and replaced by Franks
    in France and Muslims in Spain and Portugal.
*  Ostrogoths: attacked and eventually absorbed by
    the Lombards (Italy) and Byzantines

The Dark Ages are considered to cover the years from 500 to 1000. The three most
important forces that shaped this period and brought the relative darkness to an
end were the spread of new religions, the rise of the Frankish Empire, and the
predations of the Vikings.

| Dark Age Religion |

Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth
century and had begun spreading among the Germanic tribes before the fall of
Rome. The split of the Roman Empire into eastern and western halves also
resulted in a split within the Christian Church. The western part, centered in
Rome, became Catholic. The eastern part, centered in Constantinople, became
Orthodox. In the seventh century, one of the last of the world's great
religions, Islam, was founded in Arabia.


The spread of Christianity among the barbarians was a powerful civilizing force
and helped to ensure that some vestiges of Roman law and the Latin language
carried on in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Only in England was Roman
Christianity subsumed by pagan beliefs. The Franks became Catholic under Clovis
and thereafter spread Christianity to the Germans across the Rhine. The
Byzantines spread Orthodox Christianity among the Bulgars and Slavs.

Christianity was brought to Ireland by St. Patrick in the early fifth century
and spread from there into Scotland and back into England from the north. In the
late sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great sent missionaries into England from
the south. Within a century, England was Christian once again.


During the turmoil of the Dark Ages, a few strongly committed Christians
withdrew from society to live as hermits, usually on the wild and forbidding
edge of civilization. Hermits in turn inspired more conventional priests to
pledge vows of poverty and service, harkening back to the teachings of Jesus

Many of these priests formed new communities of like believers called
monasteries. Pope Gregory encouraged the building of monasteries throughout
Christian Europe. In parts of Europe they became the only remaining centers of
learning. Irish monks, for example, are credited by some with preserving
civilization in their monasteries. Irish monks went out into other parts of
Europe to teach and revive an interest in learning. Monasteries were the main
source of educated men who could help administer government, and many became
important assistants to kings.

In time monasteries grew wealthy with donations of land, as did the Roman
church. Different monastic orders were founded with different goals. Some kept
entirely to themselves, some trained missionaries to be sent into the wild, some
advised the popes on church doctrine, and others provided important community
service such as care for the elderly, health care, and emergency relief.


Islam was founded in Arabia in the seventh century by the prophet Mohammed. It
spread rapidly and inspired a great movement of conquest. The political map of
North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia changed almost overnight. All of
North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, the Middle East, Asia Minor, Iraq, Iran,
Afghanistan, parts of India, Pakistan, and part of Russia became Muslim. During
the brief period that the Islamic Empire remained united, it threatened to
accomplish its goal of converting the entire world to its beliefs. The stability
and economic growth within the new Muslim world brought peace and prosperity far
in advance of that in western Europe of the time. The Muslim culture surpassed
even the Byzantines in art, science, medicine, geography, trade, and philosophy.

Conflicts between the Muslims and Christians resulted in the Crusades, a series
of attempts by western Christians to regain the Holy Lands in Palestine.

| Charlemagne |

The Franks consolidated their kingdom in modern France under a series of strong
kings and warlords during the seventh and eighth centuries. In 732 they defeated
a Muslim army invading France from the Iberian Peninsula. Around 750, the Franks
pushed into Italy to rescue Rome and the pope, who were under attack by the
Lombards. In 768 Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, became king of the Franks
and began his remarkable reign.

Charlemagne returned to Italy across the Alps in 774 and rescued the Pope once
again. He became king of both the Franks and Lombards and effective ruler of
Rome. He continued his conquests, simultaneously converting his enemies to
Christianity. He took southern France and northern parts of Spain. He moved into
western Germany, converting the Saxons and fighting off the Magyars of Hungary.
He established "marches" on his frontier, which were buffer states between the
Frankish Empire and barbarian tribes to the east. On Christmas Day in 800,
Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the pope (the title was a surprise
and one he had not sought).

The importance of Charlemagne transcends the size and creation of the Holy Roman
Empire, which fell apart soon after his death anyway. He was a great supporter
and defender of the Catholic Church and used it to encourage learning and the
arts. He set up schools in association with cathedrals to educate civil servants
and nobles to improve government. He collected and codified the laws, improving
the system of justice. He invented feudalism as a way of providing local order
while retaining central authority.

The great promise of European revival radiating from the Frankish Empire was
stopped short, however. Following the death of Charlemagne's son, the empire was
split three ways among his grandsons. The western part evolved later into modern
France. The eastern part became Germany much later. The central part was
contested by the other two through succeeding generations into the twentieth
century. A more immediate problem was the sudden appearance of Viking raiders
from Scandinavia, who greatly disrupted northern Europe for the next two

| The Vikings |

The inhabitants of Scandinavia had made their living by herding, farming, and
fishing for centuries. In the sixth and seventh centuries, they began trading
along the Baltic Sea and deep into Russia along its great rivers. For reasons
unknown, they began aggressively raiding the coasts of Europe suddenly in the
late eighth century. Perhaps they were amazed at the relative riches they had
encountered as traders, or they perceived a weakness among the civilizations to
the south, or new sailing and boat technologies gave them the power to travel
farther and more quickly. In 793 the pagan Vikings struck the great monastery at
Lindisfarne, established by the Irish off the northeast coast of England.

Fast, low-draft longboats allowed the Vikings to strike quickly from the sea and
up rivers. Because roads were so poor in the ninth century, the Vikings could
concentrate against a rich village or monastery, land quickly, drive off any
resistance, and carry off slaves and plunder before any organized response could
be mounted. People living along the coasts and rivers of Germany, France, and
Britain lived in fear of the raiders. The central authorities of these lands
fell into disfavor because they could do little to defend against these hit-and-
run attacks. The people turned to local nobles who built castles for defense.
This shift of power strengthened the local nobles and weakened the kings.

The Vikings became bolder as the ninth century progressed. Larger Viking groups
combined to make actual invasions, not just raids. They sacked major cities
including Hamburg, Utrecht, and Rouen. They settled on islands off Britain, in
parts of Ireland (founding Dublin), Iceland, and Greenland. The Danes captured
and ruled the eastern half of England for a century. Another force sailed up the
Seine River and besieged Paris for two years before being bought off with money
and plunder. Another group ruled part of Russia from Kiev and assaulted
Constantinople from the Black Sea. They raided the Muslim Iberian Peninsula and
deep into the Mediterranean.

In the tenth century, the king of France bought peace with the Vikings by ceding
them part of his country (Normandy, "from the northmen," or Normans) and making
their ruler a French duke. As part of this agreement, the Normans converted to
Christianity. The Normans became one of the most remarkable groups in the Middle
Ages. Later they conquered England, establishing the first great European
kingdom. Other Normans conquered Sicily, half of Italy, and established Crusader
kingdoms in Palestine.

Viking raids stopped at the end of the tenth century, partly because they had
become Christians and no longer followed the warrior values of their past pagan
beliefs. Scandinavia divided into kingdoms, and the new rulers concentrated on
ruling what they owned. The Viking settlers in Russia, France, and Britain were
absorbed by the cultures that surrounded them. The warrior cultures in Europe
that had evolved in response to the Viking threat soon had a new outlet for
their aggression, however, in the Holy Land of the Eastern Mediterranean.

         The Crusades

Making pilgrimages to holy sites had been a popular activity for European
Christians for centuries. There were important religious centers in Europe but
the most important site was the Holy Land in Palestine. The rise of the Seljuk
Turks made travel to Jerusalem and other Middle Eastern locales suddenly much
more dangerous. The Turks had little use for non-Muslims and ended the
relatively peaceful relations between the Arabs and Christians. At the same
time, the Turks put tremendous pressure on the Byzantines by capturing the
valuable lands in Asia Minor. As a result, Pope Urban called for a Crusade by
Christian warriors to recapture Palestine from the Muslims.

The call for a Crusade electrified the knights of Europe. They were strong
believers, and the pope promised a heavenly reward for those who died in the
cause. Of equal or greater importance was the opportunity to grab land and
wealth abroad, rather than continuing to squabble with relatives and neighbors
at home.

By 1097, an army of 30,000, including many pilgrims and camp followers, had
crossed into Asia Minor from Constantinople. Despite feuding among the leaders
and broken promises between the Crusaders and their Byzantine supporters, the
Crusade stumbled forward. The Turks were just as disorganized, or more so. The
Frankish heavy knights and infantry had no experience fighting the Arab light
cavalry and archers, and vice versa. The endurance and strength of the knights
won the campaign over a series of often very close victories. Antioch was
captured through treachery in 1098 and Jerusalem in 1099 by assault against a
weak garrison. The Christians debased themselves after both victories by
slaughtering many of the residents regardless of age, faith, or gender. Many of
the Crusaders returned home, but a hardy band remained to set up feudal kingdoms
similar to those in Europe.

The Crusader rulers of Palestine were greatly outnumbered by the Muslim
population they attempted to control, so they built castles and hired mercenary
troops to hold them. The culture and religion of the Franks was too alien to win
over the residents of the area, however. From their secure castle bases, the
Crusaders struck out to intercept raiding Arabs. For about a century the two
sides engaged in a classic guerrilla war. The Frankish knights were powerful but
slow. The Arabs could not stand up to charges by the heavy cavalry but could
ride circles around them, hoping to disable their units and catch them in
ambushes in the desert. The Crusader kingdoms kept mainly to the coast, from
which they could get supplies and reinforcements, but the constant raids and
unhappy populace meant they were not an economic success.

Orders of Christian warrior monks were formed to fight for the Holy Lands. The
Knights Templar and Hospitillar were mainly Frankish. The Teutonic Knights were
German. These were the fiercest and most determined of the Crusaders, but there
were never enough of them to make the region secure.

The Crusader kingdoms survived for a while in part because they learned to
negotiate, compromise, and play the different Arab groups off against each
other. A great Arab leader appeared, however, who united the various Islamic
groups. Saladin became Sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1174. In 1187 he won a great
victory over the Crusaders in the desert and recaptured Jerusalem.

For another century the Europeans made several attempts to reassert control over
the Holy Land and Jerusalem, with only a rare temporary success. Eight more
Crusades followed and most failed to do more than get ashore and make some
progress inland before being pushed back. The Fourth Crusade did not even reach
Palestine. Under the guidance of the Doge of Venice, they sacked Constantinople
instead, a blow from which the Byzantines never recovered. One of the worst
Crusades was a Children's Crusade launched in 1212. Several thousand European
children got as far as Alexandria in Egypt, where they were sold into slavery.

The legacy of the Crusades included a new hostility between Christians and
Muslims, a deterioration of the feudal system, and exposure to new cultures.
Feudalism declined because many lords went bankrupt, leaving their lands to
their kings. Many serfs became Crusaders and never returned. New words entered
the European languages, such as cotton, muslin, divan, and bazaar. Europeans
brought back new textiles, foods, and spices. Demand back home for these new
goods increased trade and contributed to the growth of the Italian trading city-
states, especially Genoa and Venice. This demand was also the impetus for the
great age of discovery that began in fourteenth century. Treasure brought home
increased the local money supplies, aiding economic growth.


The predominant economic and political structure of the Middle Ages was
feudalism. This system evolved in response to a breakdown in central authority
and a rise in social chaos following the end of Roman rule. A hierarchy of
strongmen in allegiance replaced the Roman system of emperor, senate, province,
city, and town.

| Feudal Contract |

Feudalism was an agreement between two nobles, one the lord and one the vassal.
The vassal pledged an oath of fealty (faithfulness) to the lord and agreed to
carry out duties in his behalf. The most important duties were usually military
service (normally limited to 40 days per year), providing soldiers to the lord's
army, and providing revenue to the lord. The lord agreed to protect the vassal
with the army at his command and to provide the vassal with the means of making
a living. The vassal was given control of a fief that was usually a large
holding of land, but he could also be assigned the job of tax collector, coiner,
customs agent, or some other responsibility that created revenue. A lord with
many vassals thus had steady sources of revenue and an army. A feudal contract
was made for life. A lord could take back a fief if the vassal failed in his
duties. It was much harder for a vassal to leave a lord. During the early Middle
Ages fiefs were not inherited, which was to the advantage of the lord. The more
fiefs he had to give out, the harder his vassals would work to earn them. As the
Middle Ages progressed, vassals found opportunities to make their fiefs
inheritable, leaving the lords fewer fiefs to pass out as rewards.

Only nobles and knights were allowed to take the oath of fealty. In practice
most nobles were both vassals and lords, fitting in somewhere between the king
and the lowest knight of rank. Feudalism was never neatly organized, however.
Vassals might be more powerful than lords. The dukes of Normandy, controlling
much of France and all of England, were more powerful than the kings of France
who were their lords. Vassals might have several lords, causing problems when
different lords wanted the vassal to provide a service. The senior lord, or
liege lord, was usually given preference. Nobles also discovered that if they
were strong enough they could ignore the rules of feudalism and attack neighbors
to get what they wanted. Such private wars were endemic throughout the late
Middle Ages.

| The Manor |

The most common fief was a land holding called a manor. During the Middle Ages
nine families worked on a manor producing food to feed themselves and provide
food for a tenth family to do something else. (In the modern United States, the
relationship is perhaps 100 to 1 in the other direction.)

A typical manor was a great house or castle, surrounded by fields, cottages,
pastures, and woodlands. The manor was largely self-sufficient. Surpluses of a
few commodities were traded with other manors for commodities in shortage. As
the Middle Ages continued and the markets of towns grew, manors became more
specialized because they were more efficient at producing only a few
commodities. Some manors specialized in cheese, pigs, wine, grain, or
vegetables, for example.

The lord of the manor (landlord) occupied the manor house or castle with his
family, servants, and retainers. Retainers were usually knights and professional
soldiers on hand to provide defense and be ready to fulfill any feudal military
obligations to a senior lord. The larger the manor, the greater the number of

The population of a manor consisted mainly of peasants (nonnoble and
nonprofessional). The farmhands were mostly serfs who spent up to half of their
week working the lord's lands in return for his protection. Each serf family
owned several rows in each of the manor's fields from which it obtained a
living. Serfs were not slaves, but they were not free either. They could not
marry, change jobs, or leave the manor without the lord's permission. But a serf
had some rights, unlike a slave. His position was hereditary and passed down in
his family. His land could not be taken so long as he fulfilled his obligations.
While the relationship between vassal and lord seems comparable to serf and
landlord, a clear distinction was made in the Middle Ages between an honorable
contract to provide military service versus mere manual labor.

Farming technology gradually changed the lives of serfs as the Middle Ages
progressed. Food production increased and surpluses were sold, providing serfs
with the money to buy their freedom. By the end of the period, there were few
serfs in western Europe.

         The Late Middle Ages

The Dark Ages witnessed widespread disruption throughout Europe and the
replacement of the previously predominant Roman culture with Germanic tribal
culture. For 500 years Europe had suffered repeatedly from invasion and war. The
life of the average peasant was rarely affected, however, and social stability
and culture gradually recovered, although in new formats. By roughly the year
1000, Europeans were creating a new medieval civilization that surpassed the
ancients in almost every way.

| Economy |

At the start of the Dark Ages, Northern Europe was deeply forested. By 1000 AD,
much of the forest was gone and most of the rest was going, replaced by farmland
and pasture. The soil was generally excellent, a loess of finely ground rock
deposited during the last receding Ice Age. Two key inventions accelerated the
deforestation of Europe and led to increasing food production. The first was the
horse collar that originated in China and gradually came west. The improved
collar fit across a horse's breast, rather than its windpipe, allowing it to
pull much heavier loads without choking. The second invention was the heavy
wheeled plow, which was needed to cut into the deep soils and extensive root
systems of the old forests. Dramatic increases in food production were the
foundation of population growth and economic revitalization in Europe.

Increasing population, no longer needed on the manors, migrated to the towns
that were already growing in response to the needs for larger markets. Food
surpluses and the products of new industries (cloth-making, shipbuilding, and
tool-making, for example) traded in the new markets and trade fairs. Kings
encouraged the growth of towns because residents were usually allied with the
central authority rather than local feudal lords. Citizens of towns paid taxes,
not feudal service. Within towns there appeared a new middle class that
supported itself by trade, industrial production, and lending money. Merchants
came to dominate the town governments, growing both rich and powerful.

Craftsmen and merchants organized themselves into associations that were called
guilds. These associations controlled prices and production, ensured a high
standard of service or manufacturing, and organized the training of crafts
through apprenticeships. These controls ensured both a high-quality product and
a high-quality of life for guild members. Guild members often concentrated in
one part of town, such as Threadneedle Street and Ironmongers Lane in London.
Guilds formed an important power block within the political structure of the

Increased trade led to a new boom in manufacturing. Both led to the rise of
banking, centered mostly in northern Italy in the thirteenth century. Fledgling
businesses needed money to get started and to function efficiently. Money acted
as a medium of exchange and standard of value and was necessary for moving
beyond an inefficient barter economy. Italy had cash surpluses from its
lucrative Mediterranean trade, especially with the Levant. The gold florin of
Florence became the most popular coin of the late Middle Ages.

| Religion |


Christians proved their faith by going on pilgrimages to Rome, Santiago de
Compostela, and even Jerusalem. Pilgrims who had visited Santiago de Compostela
wore cloth cockleshells on their clothing as a badge of distinction.


The prosperity of the twelfth century and later was increasingly expressed in
the arts, especially architecture. The enduring symbol of Middle Ages
architecture was the cathedral. Magnificent church buildings were erected in
thanks to God for the blessings bestowed on the people. Towns competed to build
the most glorious cathedral and the loftiest spire reaching toward heaven.
Cathedrals were the largest capital investments of the period, taking as much as
a century to build and costing a fortune.

The predominant building material for cathedrals was stone, which minimized the
hazard of fire. There was little steel at the time, and iron was too soft to
hold up the immense buildings of unprecedented height. Architects evolved new
solutions to old problems, devising the pointed arch and flying buttress to
spread the weight load from vaulted ceilings onto massive stone supports. The
new building technologies made possible great open cathedrals, large windows
(often of beautifully stained glass), and high spires. The French pioneered the
new cathedrals. Notre Dame of Paris was begun in 1163 and finished 72 years
later. The cathedral at Chartres was begun in 1120 and completed in 1224 after
burning twice during construction.

Cathedrals were a great source of civic pride and prestige. Pilgrims and new
churchgoers brought increased revenues to the cathedral town.

| Technology |

By the late Middle Ages, science in Europe had caught up with the ancients and
passed them by. The technology that interested the people was practical, not
theoretical. They sought better ways to do things, both to make life more
comfortable and to improve business. They were interested in understanding the
natural world because they had increasingly more leisure time for contemplation.

The rudiments of mathematics and science were acquired from the Muslims of the
Iberian Peninsula and Sicily when Christians retook those areas. The Muslims had
been actively studying the ancients and new ideas from Asia since the early
Middle Ages. The Muslims passed on the Arabic numerals used today and the
concept of the zero, invented in India.

Practical research began challenging logic in the quest to understand the laws
of nature. The value of observation, experimentation, and empirical (countable)
evidence as support and proof of theory was recognized. This led to the
scientific method of the later Renaissance, which is the basis for all modern
scientific research. Ancient Greeks had suggested the scientific method, but it
fell out of favor and had been forgotten.

| Feudalism's Decline |

Political Changes

By the beginning of the late Middle Ages, western Europe had been divided into
feudal holdings of various sizes. Kings atop feudal hierarchies did not exercise
a strong central authority and nations existed as cultural groups, not political
entities. By the end of the late Middle Ages, strong central authority
controlled England, Spain, Portugal, and France. Political power in those areas
had been wrested away from the local feudal lords.

William the Conqueror established the first of the strong European monarchies
after winning the throne of England in 1066. Following his victory at Hastings
and five more years of fighting to break remaining resistance, he began taking
steps to consolidate his power. He kept one-sixth of England as royal land. Half
of the rest was given as fiefs to Norman barons who were his direct vassals. He
gave one-quarter of the land to the Church and the remainder was divided among
the Anglo-Saxons. The entire feudal hierarchy was forced to swear fealty to him
as liege lord. He claimed ownership of all castles, prohibited wars between
lords, and made royal coinage the only legal money. These were important first
steps in the decline of feudalism, although they could not always be enforced,
especially by later kings of lesser ability than William.

In the twelfth century, England's King Henry II created the chancery and
exchequer, the beginnings of a civil service. The chancery kept records of laws
and royal transactions; the exchequer was the treasury. Both offices were not
hereditary, making it easy to remove unwanted officials. The staffs of the new
civil service were paid a salary rather than given a fief, making them dependent
only on the king.

In 1215 the unpopular King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta, a
feudal document that made the king subject to the laws of the land and required
that the barons have a voice in the king's decision through a Great Council.
Wording of the Magna Carta led to important interpretations in later centuries,
including the concept of "no taxation without representation." When a later
English king ignored the Magna Carta, the barons seized power in 1264 and ruled
temporarily through an expanded Great Council called the Parliament. The new
Parliament included not only the barons and high-ranking churchmen but also
representatives from the large towns.

Although this parliamentary government was short-lived (15 months), Parliament
itself could not be suppressed or ignored. From this period on, only Parliament
could repeal laws it had passed. No taxes could be imposed without its approval.
When kings needed money in the short term (during the Hundred Years War, for
example) they were often forced by Parliament to concede more power in exchange.
Parliament and the civil service continued to grow in importance, and they
proved capable of running the country, regardless of the current king's ability
or any temporary rebellion by the nobility.

While the king, civil service, and Parliament were pushing down on the power of
barons from above, pressure was also rising from the bottom of the feudal
hierarchy. Several factors worked toward freeing the serfs from their contracts
with the lords, including increasing town populations, cessation of barbarian
raids, and a fearful plague that struck Europe in the fourteenth century.

The Black Death

The plague that became known as the Black Death struck Europe suddenly and with
devastating effect in the middle fourteenth century. It moved west from Central
Asia, appearing in the Black Sea area in 1346. It spread southwest into the
Mediterranean and then up and around the North Atlantic Coast and into the
Baltic. By 1348 it was in Spain and Portugal, by 1349 in England and Ireland, by
1351 in Sweden, and by 1353 in the Baltic States and Russia. Only remote and
sparsely populated areas were spared. Between a third and a half of the
population of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and India died, based on
modern estimates of the loss.

The Black Plague was probably a variety of the bubonic plague, a bacterial
infection still encountered today and still dangerous. The bacteria were carried
in the saliva of fleas that had sucked the blood of infected rats. The fleas
jumped to human hosts when infected rats died and the bacteria spread rapidly in
the human blood stream. The plague took its name from its most hideous symptom-
large black and painful swellings that oozed blood and pus. Victims developed a
high fever and became delirious. Most died within 48 hours, but a small minority
were able to fight off the infection and survive.

Entire towns were depopulated and the social relation between serf and lord fell
apart. People who could farm or make things were valuable. The move to cities
accelerated once the plague had passed.

         The Renaissance

Beginning in fourteenth-century Italy, Europe went through a transition over 400
years from medieval to modern times known today as the Renaissance, meaning a
"rebirth" or "revival." The Renaissance is a nebulous concept for which there is
no clear beginning or end. It does, however, usefully mark the complete recovery
from the barbarism of the Dark Ages to the new advancement in all fields that
transcended the achievements of the great ancient civilizations.

Many different factors at work in the Middle Ages contributed to this revival
and new advancement. One was the renewed interest in learning. The first college
at Oxford University was founded in 1264. By 1400 there were more than 50
universities in Europe. Education and debate were stimulated by access to
ancient texts preserved by the Arabs and freshly translated into Latin.
Europeans had made contact with the Arabs in the Holy Land, in Sicily, and in
Spain. The rediscovered works of the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid, for
example, became the standard for teaching mathematics into the nineteenth
century. The Arabs also transmitted a new system for numbers, the concept of the
decimal point, and the concept of zero, all invented in India. The spread of
learning accelerated rapidly following the invention of the printing press
around 1450.

A second factor was the rising standard of living, especially in the great
commercial cities of Italy. The Crusades had opened European eyes to the wealth
of the East, especially silks, spices, and cotton. The merchants of Venice,
Genoa, Florence, and other cities came to dominate the trade between Europe and
the Eastern Mediterranean. With the excess wealth they accumulated in business,
these merchants began embellishing their homes and cities with art. Sculpture,
painting, architecture, music, poetry, and literature found new expression,
exhibiting an interest in subjects beyond the religious themes that dominated
previously in the Middle Ages. Popular depictions of everyday life, romance, and
adventure revealed that European culture was becoming more humanistic and less
focused on religion.

The revival was also due to technological progress that led to more efficient
production of goods and services. Manufacturing, farming, and trade all improved
past the abilities of the ancients. The drive for profits encouraged
inventiveness and exploration. A middle class of merchants and craftsmen began
grasping political power commensurate with their economic power, at the expense
of a declining nobility.

By roughly 1500 the nations of Europe were leading the world in many important
technologies. Energies unleashed by the exploration of the world, the search for
trade routes, the Protestant Reformation, and continued political competition in
Europe itself would make Europe the dominant region of the world within a few

 7.                            Civilization Comparison

|   Civilization           |    Attributes                                     |
| Aztecs                   | o Start with Eagle Warrior, not Scout Cavalry     |
|                          | o Villagers carry +5                              |
|                          | o All military units created 15% faster           |
|                          | o Monks +5 HP for each Monestery technology       |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Relics +33% gold                      |
|                          | Unique unit: Jaguar Warrior                       |
|                          | Unique tech: Garland Wars                         |
| Britons                  | o Town Centers cost -50% in Castle and Imperial   |
|                          |   Age                                             |
|                          | o Foot archers +1 range Castle Age, +1 Imperial   |
|                          |   Age (for +2 total)                              |
|                          | o Shepherds work 25% faster                       |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Archery Ranges 20% faster             |
|                          | Unique unit: Longbowman                           |
|                          | Unique tech: Yeomen                               |
| Byzantines               | o Advance to Imperial Age costs -33%              |
|                          | o Fire ships +20% attack                          |
|                          | o Camels, skirmishers, Pikemen, Halberdiers cost  |
|                          |   -25%                                            |
|                          | o Buildings +10% HPs Dark Age, +20% Feudal Age,   |
|                          |   +30% Castle Age, +40% Imperial Age              |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Monks +50% heal speed                 |
|                          | Unique unit: Cataphract                           |
|                          | Unique tech: Logistica                            |
| Celts                    | o Infantry move 15% faster                        |
|                          | o Lumberjacks work 15% faster                     |
|                          | o Siege weapons fire 20% faster                   |
|                          | o Sheep not converted if in 1 Celt unit's LOS     |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Siege Workshops 20% faster            |
|                          | Unique unit: Woad Raider                          |
|                          | Unique tech: Furor Celtica                        |
| Chinese                  | o Demolition ships +50% HPs                       |
|                          | o Town Centers support 10 population              |
|                          | o Technologies cost -10% Feudal Age, -15% Castle  |
|                          |   Age, -20% Imperial Age                          |
|                          | o Start +3 villagers but -150 food, -50 wood      |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Farms +45 food                        |
|                          | Unique unit: Cho Ko Nu                            |
|                          | Unique tech: Rocketry                             |
| Franks                   | o Castles cost -25%                               |
|                          | o Knights +20% HPs                                |
|                          | o Farm upgrades free (require Mill)               |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Knights +2 LOS                        |
|                          | Unique unit: Throwing Axeman                      |
|                          | Unique tech: Bearded Axe                          |
| Goths                    | o +10 Population Imperial Age                     |
|                          | o Villagers +5 attack vs. wild boar; Hunters      |
|                          |   carry +15 meat                                  |
|                          | o Infantry +1 attack vs buildings                 |
|                          | o Infantry cost -10% Feudal Age, -15% Castle Age, |
|                          |   -25% Imperial Age                               |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Barracks 20% faster                   |
|                          | Unique unit: Huskarl                              |
|                          | Unique tech: Anarchy                              |
| Huns                     | o Don't need houses but start -100 wood           |
|                          | o Cavalry Archers cost -25% Castle Age, -30%      |
|                          |   Imperial Age                                    |
|                          | o Trebuchets +30% accuracy                        |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Stable 20% faster                     |
|                          | Unique unit: Tarkan                               |
|                          | Unique tech: Atheism                              |
| Japanese                 | o Fishing Ships 2X HPs; +2P armor; work rate +5%  |
|                          |   Dark Age, +10% Feudal Age, +15% Castle Age,     |
|                          |   +20% Imperial Age                               |
|                          | o Mill, Lumber Camp, Mining Camp cost -50%        |
|                          | o Infantry attack 10% faster Feudal Age, 15%      |
|                          |   Castle Age, 25% Imperial Age                    |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Galleys +50% LOS                      |
|                          | Unique unit: Samurai                              |
|                          | Unique tech: Kataparuto                           |
| Koreans                  | o Villagers +2 LOS                                |
|                          | o Stone Miners work 20% faster                    |
|                          | o Tower upgrades free (Bombard Tower requires     |
|                          |   Chemistry)                                      |
|                          | o Towers range +1 Castle AGe, +1 Imperial Age     |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Mangonels, Onagers +1 range           |
|                          | Unique units: War Wagon; Turtle Ship              |
|                          | Unique tech: Shinkichon                           |
| Mayans                   | o Start with +1 Villager, Eagle Warrior (not      |
|                          |   Scout Cavalry), -50 Food                        |
|                          | o Resources last 20% longer                       |
|                          | o Archery Range units cost -10% Feudal Age, -20%  |
|                          |   Castle Age, -30% Imperial Age                   |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Walls cost -50%                       |
|                          | Unique unit: Plumed Archer                        |
|                          | Unique tech: El Dorado                            |
| Mongols                  | o Cavalry archers fire 20% faster                 |
|                          | o Light Cavalry +30% HPs                          |
|                          | o Hunters work 50% faster                         |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Hussar  |
|                          |             50% faster                            |
|                          | Unique unit: Mangudai                             |
|                          | Unique tech: Drill                                |
| Persians                 | o Start +50% wood, food                           |
|                          | o Town Center, Dock 2X HPs; work rate +10% Feudal |
|                          |   Age, +15% Castle Age, +20% Imperial Age         |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Knights +2 attack vs. archers         |
|                          | Unique unit: War Elephant                         |
|                          | Unique tech: Mahouts                              |
| Saracens                 | o Market trade cost only 5%                       |
|                          | o Transport Ships 2X HPs, 2X carry capacity       |
|                          | o Galleys attack 20% faster                       |
|                          | o Cavalry archers +3 attack vs. buildings         |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: foot archers +1 attack vs. buildings  |
|                          | Unique unit: Mameluke                             |
|                          | Unique tech: Zealotry                             |
| Spanish                  | o Builders work 30% faster (except on Wonders)    |
|                          | o Blacksmith upgrades don't cost gold             |
|                          | o Cannon Galleons benefit from Ballistics         |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Trade Cart, Trade Cog return +33% gold|
|                          | Unique units: Conquistador; Missionary            |
|                          | Unique tech: Supremacy                            |
| Teutons                  | o Monks heal from 2X as far                       |
|                          | o Towers garrison 2X units, fire 2X normal        |
|                          |   garrison arrows                                 |
|                          | o Murder Holes Free                               |
|                          | o Farms cost -33%                                 |
|                          | o Town Center +2 attack/+5 LOS                    |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Units more resistant to conversion    |
|                          | Unique unit: Teutonic Knight                      |
|                          | Unique tech: Crenellations                        |
| Turks                    | o Gunpowder units +25% HPs, researching gunpowder |
|                          |   technologies costs -50%                         |
|                          | o Gold miners work 15% faster                     |
|                          | o Chemistry free                                  |
|                          | o Light Cavalry, Hussar upgrade free              |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Gunpowder units train 20% faster      |
|                          | Unique unit: Janissary                            |
|                          | Unique tech: Artillery                            |
| Vikings                  | o Infantry +10% HPs Feudal Age, +15% Castle Age,  |
|                          |   +20% Imperial Age                               |
|                          | o Wheelbarrow, Hand Cart free                     |
|                          | o War ships cost -20%                             |
|                          |                                                   |
|                          | Team Bonus: Docks cost -25%                       |
|                          | Unique units: Berserk; Longboat                   |
|                          | Unique tech: Berserkergang                        |

 8.                         Specific Strategies and Tips

I don't really have any strategies or tips I'd like to give out.  If you run a
search for Age of Kings, you will be able to find plenty.

Check out:


                             On the Road to Expert

  First of all, a huge thanks go out to DaRq_DarkJihad for allowing me post

  I highly recommend that you go to MrFixitonline (http://mrfixitonline.com)
  for more game help!

On The Road to Expert: Day 1 VILLAGERS
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. Currently there are 13 Parts. Though On the Road
to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings Heaven, these strategies
have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline.


The importance of having many many villagers can NOT be overstated in Age of
Kings. Often the inferior military player can win by sheer volume of the same
unit, which in order to happen, must occur with a superior economy. Now
obviously a mixed and managed military will win given equal economies. But we'll
leave that for a later strat.

Villagers. On the road to becoming an expert you'll find that you can NEVER, and
i mean NEVER have enough villager. Just ask Maimin_Matty, who, if the game lasts
long enough, will tend to have something like 150-170 villagers on a population
200 map. But how can we reach this lofty goal ??

Well lets just say it takes PRACTICE. But here's how we start. In EVERY Game
from now on make this your goal: No big gaps in villagers before feudal, and
then once you castle, make at LEAST 5 new villagers every THREE (3) Minutes,
while attacking. This will mean that you have 100 villagers by ONE HOUR of game
time. While this is a little slow it will be fine to start out. As you make more
villagers you will find you have resources to research and do just about
anything at once.

To do this obviously you're going to need more town centers. Every time you get
400 wood, peel off two villagers from woodchopping and have them build a new
towncenter near a resource, preferably wood/gold or wood/stone, but near only
one if you don't have a wood/mineral spot. Then have them each build a farm at
your new Town Center. Also, if you've driven the enemy off his town, or just
have a nice spot outside his town, definitely build there. Set your all your
town center's gathering points on a resource (IE wood or stone or gold, but each
tc at a different spot). That way you can queue villagers and not worry about
assigning them a task anytime soon.

These are the kinds of places for TCs if possible

Concentrate on your military, but watch your wood, and every once in a while
just tap h and hit c twice, and continue until you've gone through all your town
centers. IE hit h then c-c then h-c-c-h-cc-h-cc-h-cc until you've got two
villagers queued in each TC. You should be able to do this within 10 seconds
with practice. Every once in a while when you get a break in the fighting, grab
some villagers off wood or something and have them build farms so you don't run
out of food. Idle vils, building farms and building buildings (including your
new tcs) should be the only thing you need to micromanage in your economy.
Finally, every chance you get click the idle villager button. With 100 or more
villagers you'll get a lot going idle if you don't click occasionally. Make sure
to always rebuild farms, and shift villagers if you've got way too much of one
resource. The KEY is NEVER EVER EVER stop making villagers. EVER. (except when
you are at pop limit)

On The Road to Expert: Day 2 Villy Task Allotment
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part two of Currently there are 13
Parts. Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of
Kings Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced
EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline.

--Villager Task Allotment
Now that you've started making enough villagers, its time for you to learn what
and how many villagers you need on each resource. In general for a flexible
"formless" strategy with a few knights as you castle, you should have about 2/5
on food, 2/5 on wood, and 1/5 on gold as you click the upgrade to castle button.
(but the goldies only started right when you clicked to upgrade to feudal) IE
with the standard 30, when you start castle you want 6 on gold, 12 on wood and
12 on food.
Villy Ratios for atsq at one point during the EWORM finals

MAKE SURE YOU RESEARCH Gold Mining, double bit axe and horse collar to improve
your economy. As you add more villagers after you castle put them on gold first,
then move them to farming and wood. My reasoning here is that gold can be
quickly liquidated to any other resource using the market in case you have to
take your hands off your economy for awhile-- if you are sending guys to wood,
wood doesn't translate into much food or stone after trade taxes. Your 4th town
center should be on stone-- pump villagers from it onto the stone. Use this
stone first for a castle and then to get architecture and murder holes. In mid
castle when you start mining stone, and are looking to go imp sometime soon, you
should have about 1/4 of your villagers on gold, 1/4 wood, and 3/8 food, with
about 1/8 on stone for castles. IE with 50 villagers, you want 18 on food, 13 on
wood, 13 on gold, and 6 or 7 on stone. This should give you enough resources to
produce a mixed army, pump more villagers, as well as eventually age advance and
research techs.

Try not to go too much off this formula unless you're going hardcore anti-units
(pikemen/skirmishers), or hardcore archers or something, which is not
recommended, since a mixed force usually does better. If you put alot of
villagers on one resource, you're going to find you have 2000 wood in the bank,
or 1500 stone when you only need like 100 of each. As you start to imperial, you
want to move more to gold because those imperial techs are expensive. Remember
the GOAL is to have the resources you need to research things, but you want all
your resources as close as possible to 0. Realistically you want a coupla
hundred gold and wood in reserve, so if you're resources read like 300 gold and
200 wood, and 50 food (and stone <650 with no castle up) then you are doing
well. If you've got more you're NOT using them properly-- either produce
something with them or shift villagers OFF that resource. Obviously the
exceptions are age advancements and saving for elite units.

The kinds of resources you want to have if you are going to imperial shortly--
while booming you want to have less in the bank

So to recap: Try and balance your villagers, but realize that like ROR stone
isn't quite as useful until you need to build a castle, while gold/food/wood are
needed all the time- so don't put as many villagers on stone, especially as you
are castling-- and you'll see your times and number of villagers increase.

On The Road to Expert: Day 3- Upgrades
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part three of Currently there are 13
Parts. Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of
Kings Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced
EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline.


This is for a basic 30 ish vil strong castle in 1v1. If going for a feudal rush
or very early castle rush you may wish to skip the economic upgrades early on.
Also I usually use a BLACKSMITH, and a Stable or Archery Range (market in team
games) as my two requisite buildings to advance. The next building is usually
either an ARCHERY RANGE or another STABLE. After that it depends, but its often
multiple town centers, then a SEIGE WORKSHOP, then A MARKET, then UNIVERSITY,
then CASTLE, then a MONESTARY later to pick up relics. Obviously more military
buildings are mixed in here, but you need to evaluate your situation to
determine which and how many. The ONLY upgrade you should get before you start
castling is loom-- all others should generally wait until. When building troops,
try not to suffer from horizontal upgrade syndrome (partially upgrading lots of
different things). Instead, try to fully upgrade your mainline troops before
upgrading other things you may or may not need or use alot.
These are the upgrades I recommend, in the order i recommend for a 1v1 land map,
and to a lesser extent for any map:

1. LOOM: At 50 gold this tech is rock-bottom priced. Get it at the first
opportunity (either break in villies or just before feudaling) and save yourself
alot of wolf kills. Also helps kill enemy scout that harrases your forward

2. DOUBLE BIT AXE: This upgrade rocks.. like woodworking in ROR this upgrade is
ESSENTIAL for a healthy wood intake. Get it right after you click upgrade to
3. Horse Collar: This makes your farms last longer- essential in feudal age for
a land map strategy, can wait till mid-castle on water.

4. Gold Mining: Also good, as thorfinn pointed out this is like getting an extra
villager on gold. Realizing that it costs more than one villager, its still
essential because it gets around the fact that your economy precastle is
essentially TOWN CENTER limited... make every villager count. GET This in feudal
(WHILE castling) but not until after Double Bit AXE.

5. Fletching Arrow/Scale Barding Armor (if knight rushing): Get both of these as
soon as you have the resources... you should be able to get at least one while
transitioning to castle... Armor is for the knights, Fletching Arrow both helps
your archers and increases town center, ship, and castle firepower (and range).

6. Wheelbarrow/Hand Cart: I tend to get wheelbarrow right when I castle, since
it improves Woodcutting somewhat, and improves Farming by something like 17% for
whatever reason- get it fairly soon after castling, in feudal if you aren't
going to have the food to get to castle in time. Get Hand Cart when you have the
resources, but don't let it interfere with continuous villager production.

7. Cartography: A Must in team games, I most often don't build a market until
like 23-24 minutes but when I do i research IMMEDIATELY.. its really nice for
team games. The more players, the sooner you can get it..

8. Bow Saw: Always can use more wood for more tcs and seige. Especially on water
maps, this can make the difference between winning and losing the boat war.
Often I get it right off in castle since it researches in a lumber camp..

9. Other Blacksmith Upgrades:Make sure you get the upgrades for whatever troops
you're using. Also make sure to eventually get Bodkin arrow since again, it
strengthens your TCs/ CASTLES/ and Ships. The primary upgrade for my troops
might come even before wheelbarrow (ie padded archer armor or whatever)

8 Murder Holes/Ballistics: Research these once you get a university up, its
pretty much worthless to build a castle without murder holes or several TCs in
support. (which is one of the reasons i think building a castle too early is a
mistake). Get ballistics next, or get it earlier if using a primarily archer

9 Gold Shaft/Stone Shaft mining:Get them, but they are kinda expensive early, I
generally wait until mid-late castle when i have a few extra resources.

10 IMPERIAL AGE: Get this now, you've got enough upgrades:

11 Other upgrades: Eventually get town watch and town patrol. MAYBE get two man
saw which is really overprices for its benefit-- wait till late. Get guilds if
trading extensively. As always FULLY upgrade your troops... especially get
Bracer and Blast Furnace which apply to multiple troops/ types. Get Siege
Engineers at some points, as well as masonry and treadmill crane... you need to
decide these for yourself. Also chemistry if using bowmen or planning on
gunpowder weapons. Conscription is nice, and should come soon after Imperialing.
Sappers if you have too many villagers.

12 UPGRADES TO SKIP: SPIES/TREASON-- Don't get this unless your opponents down
to their last few men. HEATED SHOT: This is totally worthless in 99.9% of all
games.. completely ignore it COINAGE/BANKING: You shouldn't need to tribute too
much... CROP ROTATION: Get it late game, but don't skip completely it eliminates
pointless farm rebuilding micro. TRACKING: Infantry are still blind but now
chase things further. Go ahead if you've got extra but its NOT a priority. ALL
MONK UPGRADES: A waste of resources: Initially I thought redemption might be a
good deal but nope.. those monks convert buildings slower than one villager
builds them... Save yor gold. Actually redemption can be useful for converting
seige, but most of the time, except in extremely specific strategies, skip all
monk upgrades.


Military Upgrades you can't schedule
Husbandry.. ok but not essential - wait till imperial Light Cav... again ignore
till imperial if not mongol knights are just as good and gold's NOT in short
supply in castle.
Squires: Yes, if you're using infantry its nice.
Pikemen: Yes, but evaluate situation and get when needed.
Infantry Upgrades (Ie men at arms longswords): Dunno, look at where you are and
what you're doing. Get them before champs obviously but infantry is of limited
usefulness in castle.
Heavy Scorps: its ok but damned expensive and these things are EZ to counter..
they do work nice behind pikes for paladins, or for infantry.
Onagers/Seige Onagers/: Get Onager: Say bye bye to archers and skirmishers, also
good for smashing trebs. Seige Onager is too expensive, except on Black Forest
where the tree path smashing is nice.

Bombard Cannon: Get it if you got it, also nice for smashing trebs.
Capped Ram/Seige Ram: If you've got alot of these running around from castle
this upgrade is great, otherwise definitely skip seige ram... maybe get capped
Hand Cannoneer: Maybe.. these guys aren't significantly better than regular
archers because they are so inaccurate at long range. They garrison TCs better
Ships: If you're fighting ship wars get war galleys and shipwright otherwise,
don't. Careening and dry dock are nice if you're transporting troops.
Paladin/Cavalier: YES these guys rock, Paladins even smoke Pikemen especially
cause of the population limit.
Arbalest/Crossbowmen: Get it if you're using them.
Heavy Cavalry Archer: Simply put these guys SUCK.. don't even waste your
resources making cav archers, let alone researching Heavy Cav Archers.
Elite Skirmishers: A must if you're fighting with them.
Fortified Wall/Guard Tower/Keep: Generally I'd have to say no, unless you've got
significant numbers of stone walls... which u shouldn't, they hinder expansion.

On The Road to Expert: Day 4- Less obvious counters
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part four of Currently there are 13
Parts. Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of
Kings Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced
EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline.

Day 4: Counters to common situations Though the manual lists the most common
counters to many units, there are several problematic situations, and several
counters that just work better. These are as always in addition to the Manual
counters, which actual do work in generally.

Lets start with Massed Archers:
Supposedly skirmishers smash archers, however you and I both have seen how
british archers and longbows can take even elite skirmisher- maybe not one for
one but in a combination with something else the archers are far superior. When
i face mass archers i suggest Skirmishers, Pikemen and Onagers(Mangonels work
ok, but not as good as onagers). the pikemen stay back, they are for incoming
knights only. This has the added benefit of working against ANYTHING ranged...
pikes/ onagers/skirmishers absolutely mutilate archers without as many inherent
weaknesses as either skirmishers or knights the most common counter, knights.

Onagers absolutely slaughter archers- mix in some skirmishers to max killing for
the cost

Mass Infantry:
Massed Archers are great, but throw in some mangonels or scorpions and the
slaughter is even greater. Frankly onagers/mangonels are useful against anything
thats slower than a knight... Just be sure to force them to move back(they won't
attack while moving) once your troops engage them or you'll turn anything and
everything on the battlefield into mush. Scorpions work better against infantry,
but the onagers work better against Archer counters, so its a tossup which to
use- just don't try to mix them, its not worth it to spend on BOTH Heavy
Scorpions and Onagers.

Scorpions slaughter infantry, especially in combo with something else

Paladins: OY, if theres one thing thats a pain to counter if they mass its
paladins. Pikes do it effectively as related to cost, but need to outnumber
paladins 2 to 1 which is incredibly hard in a game where there is a population
limit (even 200 is too low). There are two good counters. The best counter I've
experienced to mass paladins is a combination of pikes and scorpions. In order
for this to work though, the scorpions MUST be targeted BY THE PLAYER. Your goal
is to target the second or third in a row of Paladins, since the Scorpions bolts
hit everything enemy unit they pass through. If you let the computer do it your
scorpions(heavy scorps are better) will auto target the closest unit which is
not what u want at all. This has the benefit that scorpions are also an
expensive unit and the population limit doesn't matter as much... though you
MUST have pikes in front or your scorps will be slaughtered.. if you know the
paladins are coming and can spot build a short palisade wall in front that works
The other counter that works great for any knight is priests. Priests are
starting to come in vogue, and for good reason. They are useful for converting,
healing, AND picking up relics. Just be sure to keep your priests near a TC
while converting, and pop them inside if the knights get a chance to engage.

While converting, keep those priests near a TC at all times !

Trebuchets: Knights work great if you can get them in range, but any opponent
worth his salt has something guarding his trebs.. use bombard cannons or ONAGERS
to attack them at range.

Buildings: Now this may seem kind of obvious, but I just want you to know: ONLY
use rams and trebuchets for buildings. Do NOT use mangonels and onagers to
attack buildings. They are slower to kill buildings and more vulnerable than
rams. And in addition, they attack TCs from within the TCs range- and repairing
them while they attack is NOT a good tactic- it drains resources at an
incredible rate. In AOK, rams and trebs are for buildings, mangonels and onagers
are for TROOPS.

On The Road to Expert: Day 5- Castle Probe
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part five of Currently there are 13
Parts. Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of
Kings Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced
EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline.

I am using a 3m precision mousepad-- It rocks ! I've also heard that everglide
is pretty good too.

Castle probe with push to imperial: Many people over at the gx forum thought at
the time this was writtenthat attacking in castle is generally a futile effort
and should be avoided at all costs.. I DON'T agree. I tend to take the same view
as Staffa in that you don't always need to kill the TC right away, and that in
general attacking in castle can be a good thing, you've just got to know what
you're doing and evaluate the situation.

With that in mind, today I bring you my version of the castle probe. In this
attack you need to do several things:
1. Advance to castle in less than 20 minutes (17-18 minutes preferable), with as
many villagers as possible (ie on water maps build boats like a madman)
2. Build DIVERSE buildings... but stable as your first military building after
the barracks, then build an archery range.
3. Have a lot of guys on wood initially in castle

Ok basically heres how it goes:
You castle... you've already gotten the attack upgrade for knights, double bit
axe and gold mining. Grab two-three wood choppers and immediately tc your wood.
Instead of getting wheelbarrow build 2-3 villagers out of your TC and have them
build a TC on your stone (preferably as near to your gold as possible so your
goldies have a place to run)
Produce 2-3 knights from your stable, and a couple of archers from your range.
Use your forward builders to first build a seige workshop, then another Town
center. Hopefully your scout is still alive... if hes not oh well... Grab the
scout and knights and run them towards your enemys town... you're looking for
unprotected villagers... preferably those on gold first, then wood. If you spot
the tc, STAY AWAY! Theres a nasty bug that causes units to not respond. Run your
knights around and around your opponents town looking for villagers that aren't
garrisoned.. .and stay away from the TC! If you see any spearmen or pikes (you
probably will) RUN AWAY. Thats a basic knight rush.

Knight hacking away at enemy woodcutters

Now heres part B... while doing this spend all your food on more villagers (you
DON'T need to spend any more food on military). Build archers from your range or
two and a few rams from your workshop. Upgrade your archers to xbows and get
fletching for sure. Move your archers and seige in to attack your opponents wood
or gold. If they have a TC there, temporarily retreat and build a TC in range of
theirs (with your builders out of range) and then garrison your Archers inside,
and attack their TC with your seige. Proceed to smash stuff... tc. If you get
hit by something Keep building more tcs and villagers and now really start to
put them on food (25 mins into game) Keep any remaining knights that are still
alive running around and harrassing villagers. Hopefully, you've killed some
stuff, and spend on 3 knights, 5 xbows and a ram or two. Stop spending on
military, and kill what you can with that. If and when your attack is repelled-
offer no resistance. You want them to waste their time on your attack and
hopefully they overreacted and spent more defending than you did attacking. Even
if they didn't its useful to begin the battle on their side of the map.

Archers and rams go up vs his TC-- keep those archers out of TC range and slap
up a TC of your own

Build a castle somewhere between you and your opponent, preferably where he'd
have pass through to counter attack with the same units that beat your attack
off. Build villagers and more villagers and imperial asap. Now attack in
imperial with whatever your civ does best, I suggest champs and trebs but
whatever works for you. Essentially your goal is to disrupt and then fade, not
to kill in castle while preparing yourself for a strong imperial. Use Trebs to
smash his buildings and keep expanding your economy, if your minimap doesn't
look like its covered with your color you're not building enough villagers, tcs,
buildings etc.
Obviously i've omitted almost all the economy, and buildings in here.. refer to
earlier strat for that.
This will only work in conjunction with my previous strats on economy... if you
screw up your villager distribution too much (realizing that on this strat
you're initially incredibly skewed towards wood, needing only enough food for
Villagers, Crossbow, a couple of knights, and some upgrades) or don't build
enough TCs you could be toast. REMEMBER TO KEEP BUILDING VILLAGERS. Executing
this strat is something like 80% economy.
Counters to this: Walls and imperial jump... if hes got trebs before you do you
might be in trouble, then again maybe not especially on a big map where your
superior economy will have time to equalize and destroy his military. Just
remember to wall and run.
Well done defense, with TCs up early: If he defends with nothing but TCs and
villager and just enough mangonels your attack could cost more to execute than
his cost to defend, giving him the economy edge.
Feudal Rush... MAYBE.. if well executed and you don't play too well.
Things that shouldn't work:
BIG CASTLE ATTACK: Hopefully, he can't do a big castle attack, since you've been
harrassing his gold and wood- if he tries, defend with mostly TCs, and villagers
with some mangonels mixed in.

On The Road to Expert: Day 6- Civ Choice
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part six of the current 13 Parts. Though
On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings Heaven,
these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY for
MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

Civ Choices:
Choosing a civ is a complex process, but it should be based on your personal
playing style. Each civ has its own attribute, and its own flavor, and is
suitable for different types of players. Choose your civ based on your own play
style as well as your game plan. Here are best civs in my view, grouped under
the game plan/play style in which I think you should choose them.

Land Maps:

With Chinese on a land map you should probably go for some kind of castle
attack. Their great bonus is their speed which makes them tops for rushing.
Cheap techs give them power in early imperial, but they don't shine here, and
are overtaken by other civs.

Shepherding bonus means I can do with only 5 on sheep early, meaning a faster
dock in water maps. Half Price town centers mean that once castle I can boom
really well. Good archers and faster archery ranges are good vs infantry civs.
Brits do the TC push exceeding well, leading to a good castle attack, but they
also have excellent imperial strength, the longbow being one of the best unique
units into the game. I recommend doing some sort of castle based TC attack due
to the cheaper cost, but they can also Imp boom and use the cheap TCs to defend
for less against a castle attack as well.

The wood bonus really helps on water maps, and better seige means that those
Town Centers go down that much faster. Also Celts have a decent tech tree. Their
real bonus is in doubling someone in castle age- the advantage of faster +
better seige combined with the wood bonus makes for ALOT of seige. With another
civ providing the troops their castle attack is VERY powerful (ie C+M ram

Now obviously Teutons are THE best land map civ because of the TC bonus.
However, lets consider teutons post patch- with no TC bonus. Their Unique unit
is one of the best, but they really don't shine until imperial. The free murder
holes means dropping an early castle is very feasible however- in combination
with another civ their castle attack could be devastating.

Water Maps

Japanese: Fast attacking Infantry provide a good imperial army, while Half price
gathering sites (mill, lumbercamp, mining camp) mean that your initial wood goes
a long way, and ensures you can dock quickly, and better fishing boats mean
faster castle times with more resources. Possibly my favorite civ on water maps,
and certainly the best boat booming civ with a viking ally.

Cheap docks and war ships, no worries about spending your resources on
Wheelbarrow and Handcart make this civ a good choice for water maps as well.
China, Japan, Celts, and Persia all have a better fishing boat boom, but someone
has to play the Vikings so that the whole team gets the dock bonus- why not you
? In team play Vikings are ESSENTIAL on a water map. Better infantry makes for a
really great champ flood as well in imperial.

+50 wood and +50 food doesn't make all that much difference on land, but makes a
HUGE difference on water maps. Persia is best served if they find their sheep
early- they can go with 5 shepherds and live off the 50 extra food they started
with for a while (similar to shang in ROR). This means they have an extra
woodcutter AS well as a 50 wood head start on docking- with a Viking ally Persia
has the first dock up BAR NONE. This makes for a great fishing boat boom, though
they are eventually overtaken by Japanese in the booming department. TCs with
DOUBLE hitpoints mean its almost impossible to kill persia in castle age.
Combine persias imperial strength (albeit easily countered) elephants with
another civs units, such as brit lbows and you have an army that razes all.

On The Road to Expert: Day 7- Recorded Game Analysis
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part seven of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

Recorded Game Analysis
There are not one but TWO times that you need to go into game analysis mode in
AOK. Immediately Post-Game and during recorded games. Every loss you have you
need to do BOTH. I recommend refusing to play 95% of the time if record game is
not on.

ONE) Post-Game Analysis....
Do NOT simply quit game immediately and assume you will come back and watch the
recording, immediately after the game you will have a clear perspective of what
happened and a better ability to analyze the late stages of the game.

First, you want to resign, not quit so the map is completely revealed. Try to
resign when you're beat but not decimated, it tends to keep the map in a more
"usable" state.. ie you can see more what your opponent is doing.

Assuming you got beat.. which is the best time... look all around the map. Note
your opponents building placement & number. Ask yourself these questions:
How many villagers did my opponent have and what were they on ?
How many TCs ? How many villagers at Each ?
Did your opponent spot wall ? If so where? If so think back to the game and note
if it was effective or not and why.
What buildings did he build and more importantly how far are they away from his
original town (ie the more forward the later to a certain extent) ? What troop
mix did he beat you with, and more importantly, what was he/she preparing at
there buildings to back it up ?

Note the placement of all town centers and ask yourself, could i have grabbed
that spot earlier ? Was it important?
Did their TC placement help defeat my attack ? Why ?
If i had gone a different way would/could my attack have succeeded (IE I should
have scouted more) ?
Did they use terrain to their advantage ? If so how.. I generally spend 3-4
minutes checking over the map after a game to get a better feel on how and what
my opponent was doing.

TWO) Recorded Game Analysis
New to AOK, recorded games offer a second and better way to analyze your games
and mistakes & triumphs real-time, however I still recommend post-game analysis
as well.

While I'm watching a recorded game, I often click as if I'm playing, and
especially with methos, matty games I find that not only was I looking at the
same spot but I did almost exactly the same things (ie the units move exactly
where i sent them at nearly the same time i clicked, as if I was moving them
even though I can't) I find it really helps me "get in the head" of the player
I'm watching.

During a recorded game you aren't doing exactly the same things as post-game. I
generally believe you should start as yourself with reveal on. Quick take a look
and then flip between you and your opponent every 15-20 seconds or so, flipping
on and off reveal to get a feel for both what you did see and what you could
have seen with better scouting. I really don't recommend fast-forward but
whatever floats your boat i suppose. Watch your own and your opponents resource
distributions and villager count. If he gets ahead of you, how did he do it?
Does he have more resources with a similar number of villagers ? How did he/she
do it ?

Also watch your opponents scouting patterns. Every once in a while click between
military and economy military maps. If you/they had any idle villagers look at
where they were and what they were doing, so next game you can be sure villagers
there don't go idle. If your opponents has very few/no idle villagers, look at
what they did to keep them busy and eliminate pointless micromanagement.

As you move to feudal & castle watch your own and opponents buildings going up
and forward builders if any. Where did they place those builders/buildings ?
Should you have moved your own buildings ? As you attack + troop movements begin
note if your troops went along the best path, try and figure out which the best
path would be (the one thats safest and will leave you unobserved and coming
from an unexpected direction) ? Did you pick the right units to attack with ?
Were you easily countered ? If so what should you have added to the mix to beat
that ?
While you're being attacked note: Was there anything i should have made earlier
as defense based on my scouting ? Could I have easily blocked/impeded the route
that the enemies troops took ? Did they take me unexpected ? Did i need to
upgrade my troops more ? What upgrades did my opponent get ? Did superior
range/attack or armor contribute to my defeat or my ability to repel the attack.
If my TCs or archers had one more range would that have made a huge difference ?

As you watch the game try and also get a clear sense of the following: Should I
have went more economy or military and when ?
Should I have allocated resources differently ? If so when would I have had to
start getting what I needed ?
Did my opponents attack use more or fewer resources to achieve similar results
as mine ? If fewer why ?
Did my opponents overall strategy defeat mine or was it a failure in execution ?
Finally, what was the most significant thing that I/my opponent did that ensured
my victory/defeat ?

You've got to think of these questions and try to answer them all while looking
from both players perspectives (like the computers pseudo-multitasking, only
from one at a time, but changing them quickly 15-20 secs) :

YOU see now why I DON'T Recommend fast forward :-)

On The Road to Expert: Day 8- Repelling the Rush
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part eight of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

Repelling the Rush
In ROR repelling a rush was near impossible without troops of your own. Not so
in AOK, with Town Centers that fight back and can garrison your villagers in
Safety, rushing has become a situational strat at best. But the rush really only
loses its viability if you know how to defend properly. This is a generic strat
to repel most rushes, more specific strats for repelling a specific castle rush
are in Day 13.

Even in AOK you will need to build some troops to defend against the rush. And I
still advocate building some sort of small harrassing army immediately after you
castle. But defending against a larger army and coming out ahead is quite
possible in AOK. There are several things you need to do and understand to repel
the attack.

Timing of attack
If the attack comes in feudal, run and wall like in ROR. Get to castle if you've
got gold, fight him off if you don't. If its just infantry garrison your TC and
lure them in if they try and stay away (sacrificial lamb vils, attack the
infantry with the vil if necessary). But with a large comprehensive attack.. run
a build elsewhere. Like a tool attack in ROR a feudal job can't be everywhere at
once... feudal rushes come too slow (unlike scouts in ROR, AOK scout rushes are
doomed to failure against anyone good.. loom and the fact that upgrades only
increase armor by one mean vils easily defeat them). Also, Proper radar housing
placement is esssential... don't let them build all around you and cover all
your exits.

If you get to castle, immediately build as many town centers as possible with
your available wood. Ideally you want at least 4 Town Centers in your original
town by 22-23 minutes if you want to repel a rush. These should be your original
town center, a town center on wood, one on your gold, and one on stone and wood
preferably. Hopefully these TCs will for sort of a square, inside of which is
the best place to be farming/resource gathering. REMEMBER TO BUILD YOUR TCS ON
THE OUTSIDE OF THE RESOURCE (ie towards the opponent/outside of your town. This
is important, you want them to hit your TC before they hit your guys... it gives
you more time to garrison your men after you hear the attack bell. Your barracks
should be in your town. Make sure you always have a few pikes/spearmen handy to
deal with any errant knights... they're the only thing that can really hurt you.

How your TCs should be placed

Best case scenario is they come at you a few troops a time with no seige. Simply
garrison until they're out of range, then click the back to work button. Ringing
town bell is incredibly inefficient as more than likely it will sweep through
all your TCs in a chain reaction and all your vils will garrison. This is not
what you want. Your goal is to repel the attack at a lower resource cost than it
cost them to send it.

Middle Case Scenario is that they come at you with a few troops and rams. If its
knights then send in your pikes/spearmen and you'll wipe a larger force of
knights with the TC helping pump arrows into them. If you face infantry/archers
and seige, garrison your TC and kill as many ram defenders as possible before
sending in your pikes. If you kill all defenders quickly pop all your villagers
out and have them kill the ram. Also produce a few knights to kill that ram
quicker if a decent amount of troops are involved. But try not to spend anywhere
near as many resources as they did on the attack, which shouldn't be hard. When
the attack is over have maybe one or two vils repair the TC and the rest go back
to working.

Worst case Scenario: Huge castle attack, many knights/infantry and lots of
seige. Run like heck, produce appropriate counter units and in general just try
to make them take a really long time to do what they have to do. Delay,
Imperial, Destroy (DID). Imperial first and whoop their castle ass.

YOUR JOB in this strategy is to make as many Town Centers as wood allows,
gradually spreading from your Town, leapfrogging from resource to resource
(though as many tcs behind the enemy on his reserve resources as you can build
is great, too). Your best bet is too make villagers, villagers and more
villagers. If your opponent is spending his money on troops and you are spending
yours on villagers its like money in the bank.. with time you'll reap the
rewards.. so keep those villagers that arent attacked working (IE NO TOWN BELL).
Build town centers, town centers and more town centers. Remember to upgrade with
fletching and bodkin arrow for more range and a better attack. Also GET
WHEELBARROW. Previously I didn't advocate this but I did some tests and for
whatever reason farming gathered food approximately 17% faster (the effect
WASN'T as pronounced with Hand Cart for whatever reason )

- Importance of an early forward base
You wouldn't think that an early forward base would be what you wanted to repel
a rush, but in fact its EXACTLY what you need. Have you ever heard the phrase,
the best defense is a good offensive ? Well it applies here, except you're
forward base actually has two purposes: 1) Produce small, essentially
diversionary attacks. A couple of knights, some Xbows who stay close to your
forward TC, these are the things you want to do. Keep them just slightly
occupied, but don't spend much at all, and concentrate on stone/gold.. you
aren't going to stop them from farming for long with the strength of TCs.

2) You want to build 1-2 Town Centers with your forward builders. Along with
your forward buildings this will often make the enemy attack there first.
Buildings take a long time to go down though in AOK, and while they do you'll
find out exactly what they're attacking with. Meanwhile you produce nothing but
a few counter troops and boom like mad at home. When those troops come (whose
basic composition you already know) they'll have very few routes to choose when
attacking you with those troops. Time is your friend ;-)

Once imperial your best bets are:
Cavaliers/Paladins: Man these suckers take down just about everything.
Mass Champions: Infantry don't need too much help taking down buildings, and if
you already got some of the infantry upgrades they're a very good buy,
especially for vikings, japs, goths, and teutons.
Trebs/Pikes: A slow moving army that razes all in its path it can be very
effective.. but bring along villagers and build towncenters (and repair trebs)
near those trebs to kill infantry and to a lesser extent archers. Works great
especially with a complementary unique unit (like British Longbows and Chinese
Cho Nu)

--Viability of trading
Some people think that the best way to survive a rush is trading, but I'll tell
you right now its NOT. If you're forced to trade then the rusher has
accomplished his purpose of subjugating your economy-- whether it works full
force or not the inefficiency added by trading more than makes up for the
attack. Try not to trade ever except late game.

On The Road to Expert: Day 9- The ripple effect
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part nine of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

Also titled: Sacrificing time for villagers....

In Age of Empires and Rise of Rome, Age times were everything. In AOK with the
Advent of the attacking town center they are not. Though it seems many people
avoid it, I think the dock boom is even MORE viable in AOK than it was in ROR on
watery maps. Delaying your feudal and/or castle and building more villagers and
boats can be a powerful strategy on some maps.

The name of the game is the ripple effect. More villagers earlier means more
resources later means more villagers later too. Its like dropping a little rock
vs a big rock into a pond. The little rock is the rush and the big rock is the
boom. Initially it takes more effort to lift and throw the big rock, and even
then the ripples from both rocks are nearly the same. But as the ripples go out
farther they also spread faster from the bigger rock, and in the end that big
rock moves a whole lot more water.

What this means in AOK is that a good strategy can be delaying your feudal or
ESPECIALLY castle to boom more. Heres the idea:
You start with your initial villagers, but make sure to loom at the very last
second, you want more vils working early. Put everybody after your initial 7
vils on Wood, and build a second lumber camp late in dark. Get that dock up ASAP
and pump boats, preferably to ocean fish. Make a second and a third dock and
pump boats from those as well. Feudal when you get enough resources, but try to
do it fairly quickly. Hopefully you're bigger than your opponent, but even if
you're not you should be soon. Keep pumping those boats.

A nicely placed dock made for booming

Heres the trick now thats different from a regular boat boom. Once feudal, get
wheelbarrow and double bit axe and make some more villagers and generally keep
expanding as long as possible. You want to feudal at a decent time because at a
certain point, going feudal and getting the economic upgrades is more valuable
than the extra villagers. Also you can have some kind of defense. If somebody
else castles start your castle upgrade (and make some spearmen), otherwise try
to target your castle for 19-20 minutes with 60-70 villagers and boats. The key
here is the ripple effect. If your opponent can't equalize in time (by killing
more villagers than the difference between) you have the advantage (just like
the boom in ROR) but in AOK with rush defenses its all that much harder. It
seems like Castle booming is in vogue today with many players. Even if they
manage to equalize the number of villagers with multiple tcs and mad booming in
castle, the ripple effect will ensure that your 70 villagers that came earlier
in feudal & dark are worth much more than his 70 that just started gathering.
The moral is Time is often irrelevant, boom like mad until you know you can't
get away with it anymore.

Dual wood pits provide the wood income you need

Don't do this on a map like highland or arabia you'll get maimed. On the other
hand on a map like Migration or Islands boom for all you're worth.


By the same token this ripple effect means falling behind early is catastrophic.
Watch this game and see how no first sheep and delayed berries on migration
cause me to go 3 villagers behind. Doesn't seem like a lot does it ?? But watch
the resource levels and see-- it was killer. Combine this with Out4blood using
this for all its worth, and booming like a madman before and DURING feudal and
castling after me. His economy simply tears me apart. This game is a cases team
between Alliance and Bruce Shelleys Merry Men (out4blood + matty vs
darq_darkjihad + darq_fx)

Additions by Blue_Myriddn aka DaRq_Blue

Good points as always. A couple additions to the boat boom are:
1. Civ choice
2. Protection
3. Map considerations

1. CIV CHOICE: obviously some civs are going to be able to do this more easily
than others. The obvoius case is the celts. Wood bonus = more early wood =
easier time keeping boat flow going.

Other canidates include the vikings. Cheap docks = cheap boats b/c of wood
savings and also you can get a second/third dock up and pumping earlier. Also
the free wheelbarrow is pretty handy for getting the wood operation going. The
final benefit of the vikings is that they have great infantry so this will
probably be the core of your army. Since infantry use alot of food (which you'll
be getting from your boats) and no wood I think the benefit there is apparent.

Persia should be good with fast producing docks and TC's, but honestly I haven't
played much Persia and have little to say. I guess all that food would be handy
for those hungry elephants you might wanna produce.

The Japanese are my personal pick for this since the boats work faster and are a
little tougher. Plus the cheaper gathering sites mean that setting up a second
lumber camp is much more practical. If folks remember from ROR, a second lumber
camp makes a big difference in wood income. Once you get more than 10-12 villies
on a forest, efficency goes way down. The Japanese also have great infantry so
you might as well use them.

Poor civs for this strategy in my opinion are the Brits. Despite being quick on
the jump with the sheperd bonus they have no inherent wood bonus. Personally, I
would fast castle with the Brits to utilize the cheap TC and then boom there.
Plus since british archers are great units, they're going to draw on your wood
income. All this spells bad boating.

Other lousy canidates include the Teuts and the Chinese. These two civs get
great farms, so I think you are better off going with land based food. Getting
the farm upgrades is easy with the Chinese (due to 1/2 price techs) and for the
Tuets 40W farms and a TC that keeps everyone away sorta sums it up.

2. PROTECTION: On water maps, it is fairly common to make either a fishing boat
to use as a scout or a few warships. If I am scouting around and run across a
big mess of fishing boats, you can bet that I am going to send over some ships
to sink them all. In AOK, fishing boats (fbs) are even more fragile and it
doesn't take much to sink them. A few warships in their midst will decimate ALOT
of wood real fast. So if you are going to put that much wood on the high seas,
you may want to consider defending it a little.

Defense can be as simple as making a few warships to engage the enemy while
running your fbs to a safer spot. In fact unless you want to rule the seas (fat
chance of that since your are probably going to be castling later than everyone
else), this is probably the way to go.

Thinking along this line of logic also lets you see how the Vikings and Japanese
are great canidates for this strategy since the Vikings get cheaper warships and
the Japaneses ships are a little stronger (giving you more time to run them

3. MAP CONSIDERATIONS: Aside from the no brainer of needing signficant water for
this to work there are things to consider with certain maps.

- Migration: this may not be the best idea, since gaining control of that center
isle can be key. Early castling and getting a TC up on that isle can be more
beneficial than a later stronger economy IMO. Of course if you can work things
out with your partner where you boom and he grabs territory than this may work.
Plus side to migration is that fishing is safe since most people don't worry
about amassing a big navy and the islands tend to be fairly remote.

DaRq_DarkJihad response:I disagree here, I think migration is excellent for this
if its medium or larger map with the extra resources you can take the island if
need be, but usually there will still be a large enough place to land and start

DaRq_Blue continues
- Baltic/Medit: Probably a good idea since the position of the water is so
obvious. Although you will definatly have to consider defending those ships,
because the sea often becomes a big battlefield.

- Team Islands/Archpegio/Islands - great place for this strategy. Limitations of
land space can make mass farming hard to do. One thing to consider is to focus
your fishing operation on the backside of the island (ie. away from your
opponents). This has two benefits - harder for them to get to your fbs & can
provide early warning to the enemy trying to sneak onto your land.

- Continental - another great map for this. Fbs are usually really safe on this
map, since few build an early navy. Plus if you do get hit by an early castle
and have to relocate your operation, relocating your food is one less thing to
worry about.

On The Road to Expert: Day 10- Crappy Castling
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part ten of the current 13 Parts. Though
On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings Heaven,
these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY for
MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

In the spirit of the days of yore and Celestial Dawn's Crappy Bronzing, I bring
you crappy castling. Its called that because I'm sure there are many better
strats out there, but I think this one is pretty good.
Basically what follows is an incredibly detailed step by step description of an
AOK lumber camp first boat boom with a late feudal resource equaliSation twist.

Ok. You're any civ on any water map (frankly the majority in AOK, though this
works best for Chinese, Celts, Persians, Vikings, Britons, and Japanese.. heck
any civ with a wood, sheep or fishing related bonus). You start with your Normal
3 Villagers (6 if chinese). Have two villagers build a house. Have the third
build another house, but have it just touching the edge of the fog. Get your
scout moving. To use this strat you MUST go sheep first. Found those sheep with
the first minute ? If you didn't then abort and don't Crappy Castle.. do a mini-
boat boom or something. From here on we assume you found your sheep. Bring those
sheep back to your TC. Put all the original villagers plus those you made with
your original food on sheep (ie first 7) hopefully theres no villy production
gap.. if there is research loom. Keep that scout moving. You need to find the
following to execute this strat: Two More sheep and two boars, or Four more
sheep and one boar at the bare minimum. You need this much food so that you
won't have to build a mill until you are just about ready to go feudal or going
feudal. You also need to find water with some fish in it.. this shouldn't be
hard on any water map. After you have thoroughly explored your area, have your
scout run around the enemys town, but stay away from the TC.. you need to find
his goldmines and his wood operation.

Your first 6 or 7 villagers are on food. Have villager 8 begin to build a lumber
camp at the nearest fully accessible forest (ie in a V or L or Line shape... if
its really narrow towards you or rather small its worthless.. you need to be
able to get like 15-20 guys working there with a minimum of bumping) Set a
gather point on a tree near the lumber camp. Build your third house at villager
11 (ie pop 12) from now on I assume that you build a house whenever you are 3
below the limit with current housing, or 4 below with 1-2 docks pumping
consistently. Keep putting those villagers on wood. As soon as you get about 100
wood send one villager towards the fishing spot you have selected, unless its
very close (80 wood if Vikings or viking ally). As soon as you get 150 wood (113
viking/ally) put up a dock in your selected area. Try to keep this dock <25
tiles from your TC to avoid wolf kills. Pump boats continuously from this dock..
set gather point on ocean fish if they are there, shore fish if they aren't.
Note though that the break even point for Ocean vs Shore fishing with boats is
14! tiles so if the ocean fish is <7 docks widths away use that over Shorefish
right next to the dock. As soon as you have enough wood for another dock and at
least one boat <50% done (ie one boat producing at <50% or one higher than that
+one in queue) build another dock, preferably a decent amount away from the
first-- ALWAYS use two vils on this one to avoid wolf kills, or scout first and
kill wolves. TIP: Build docks near the corners of maps with the water on the
outside (conti,coastal) theres often great fishing and a larger stretch of water
here. Pump boats from both as you get the wood and QUEUE EVENLY.. Don't have two
boats in one and none in another thats incredibly inefficient. Make sure you set
gather points on fishing.. you DON'T want to ever manually assign tasks. Use the
man/men who built your docks to build houses towards the enemy.

Keep well ahead in housing while making real villagers and boats from docks

Be careful while placing woodpits against forests below your TC. Its often easy
to place to pit more than two tiles back- Avoid this by sliding the woodpit
under the Trees until it blinks red, then slide back one tile.

At some point, you will get down to 2 sheep being worked on. Now is the time to
lure that boar you found earlier. Take one vil and attack the boar, but make
sure he only shoots TWICE, then right click your TC with him to garrison so he
won't die(ALT-Right click if no one click garrisoning) As soon as the boar
approaches pull all your guys off the sheep (there may not be any left.. it may
have expired while u were luring) and kill the boar. Be sure to ungarrison our
friendly lurer and have him help harvest too. IF you used two boars, use a
different vil the second time.. your first vil will get a whack or two taken out
of him. Once all boars/sheep are done build a mill at your berries and begin to
harvest, this should be significantly after your first dock is up and probably
after your second too. Research loom at vil 18-20 if theres no gaps, or earlier
if there are. If the game is at all laggy, loom earlier rather than later. Keep
pumping vils and go feudal once you get 500 food and are just finishing pumping
a villager (ie no wait to feudal) When you are getting close to starting to
feudal or have just clicked, send 6 woodchoppers to build a mining camp by the
nearest gold, preferably BEHIND your TC (ie AWAY from your opponent) give
preference to this requirement even if its up to 10 tiles farther away... Mine
gold with these guys.. you'll maximize efficiency if the first two start the
mining camp and the rest begin to mine gold, then the builders start when

Lure boars when your sheep are running low

A bustling TC based economy. STAY AWAY from berries if you want this strategy to

Ok you've got like 45 villagers and boats and are headed for a 15 minute or so
feudal. What do we do now ?!. First don't make more boats that you can handle...
make sure you'll have 325 wood once feudal. Build a barracks with your Two
dockers who have been housing (add one if theres only one). Do this as you start
the feudal transition. Try to build the barracks smack dab on the path between
you and your closest enemy, preferably close to you, and walk your builders
towards your enemy until you hit feudal. Make sure you have housing :-)

You just hit feudal. Now is when the fun starts. If you are going to have enough
food, build another villager. Build an ARCHERY RANGE with your two forward
builders, and a BLACKSMITH with two of your woodchoppers, with preference to the
Archery Range since it takes longer to build. Only use two on the blacksmith,
its pointless to use more since the range won't finish. As soon as your building
are up go castle. Now its time to boogie... research fletching arrow, wood
chopping, and gold mining in that order. Move the two who build your Blacksmith
from wood to gold. Produce archers with spare wood and gold.. up to 5-6. Have
your forward villagers build a tower near a resource your opponent is
harvesting, preferably gold. Remember that the tower has range 8 so don't build
it too close, you don't want to be detected. If its at all possible build the
Tower on the most sloped hill you can find close to your target, since by a bug
in AOK Slope=Murder Holes (Ie adjacent units take fire from a tower in feudal if
they aren't on the same slope, woohoo) Use your archers to harrass the enemy as
the tower nears completion... if something comes after you garrison, thats why
we waiting until the tower was almost done and built it on a slope. If he
garrisons his tc or something, try and walk your archers around the outskirts of
his town and peg anything that moves. Use your tower builders to build a stable
if theres no threat from military.

You reached castle hopefully in ~19 minutes, and Crappy Castling is Almost but
not quite done telling you what to do. First off get wheelbarrow, it improves
farming. Get the farm upgrade before you build any farms, which frankly you
should just be starting right before you castle/ a little after you castle..
none of this **** dark age farming for you :-) Build TCs with your first 825
wood in Castle...one at the front lines, one at your gold and one at your
forest. Attack your already defensive opponent with knights. If your opponent
castles before you make spearmen for the imminent knight rush. If you've got a
decent number of archers around get crossbows. The way to work archers in AOK is
WITH buildings only once you castle.. .you need to advance and harass and run
into TCs/Towers when you see knights or skirmishers coming. Try to kill off more
guys with a couple of knights. Build more Town Centers and boom as big as
possible. If you suspect Ocean Attack or have extra wood build some fireships.
Build the buildings you need, including a market and university, and TC a stone
mine near you shortly after castle. Get all upgrades you deem neccessary which
usually means for me I'll get all the arrow upgrades, the forging upgrade, the
two wood upgrades, and the stone + gold mining upgrades by mid-castle. Boom like
a madman, and against a castle rush refer to strategy post "Defending the rush"

May the force be with you!

On The Road to Expert: Day 11- Fast Castling With Japanese
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part eleven of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

This is basically what FX was describing in his replies to my crappy castling
post at Age of Kings heaven, back when I first posted it. Here a basic outline,
and what you need to make this happen, what we're shooting for here is a 16:30,
45 villager castle with the JAPANESE civ, on a water map. This works better as a
team strategy, because if you have a viking ally your docks are cheaper, which
shaves off valuable seconds for your initial dock time. This is an Economy strat
only, it offers no advice on Military. While Crappy Castling was a non-optimal
strategy and so could be pulled off more easily (because you kept pumping real
vils after you could possibly have feudaled/or you purposely put more vils on
wood than strictly needed), the Japanese Fast Castle is for all intensive
purposes an Optimal Strategy, which means its more prone to map conditions and
game speed. Please watch the recorded games on all my articles, this one

First we walk through:
Like a crappy castle, berries are evil: You need 6 sheep/2 boars or better. When
nothing is listed here the strat is the same a crappy castling... this is a
little less detailed.
Build houses when needed :-)
Similar to any strat your first 6 are on food, everyone else is on wood, but
because you're japanese that lumber camp is very cheap to start. Build a dock
with one villager as soon as you get 113 wood (150 if no viking ally, which is
slower :-( Pump boats as you get the wood, the first dock can be up by 5 mins or
even a little less so you may have some trouble keeping up the boat flow for 1-2
boats. Also the same a crappy castle this is a 2-dock strategy... Put up the
second dock when you get the wood. Lure boars as needed, hunt deer if you have
to. TURN OFF ONE CLICK GARRISONING. While boar hunting you may need to drop off
some food by double clicking a boar hunter and then right clicking the TC, if
you need food for a villager. Hunt close deer after boar/sheep are gone. STAY
AWAY FROM BERRIES. This strategy relies on using fast hunting instead of slow
berries. Feudal as SOON as you see that you will have 450 or so food should you
remove all villagers from your Queue... you're shooting to start feudaling at 11
minutes EVEN. Start gold mining ASAP now, When I was doing this I used my food
villagers on the gold (surprisingly), but use whichever resource you'll have
more of. Build a mill during feudal transition, then build a market/blacksmith
if you have to, stable/smith if you had the wood for a barracks. Build with
multiple villies to speed the transition. Start the market first since it takes
longer to build. You can keep pumping boats as you are feudaling and castling if
you have the wood... you probably will only have 40 or so as you begin. IF
everything goes right, you should be castle in Under 17 minutes...

This strategy relies on fishing ocean fish, and the japanese bonuses of both
cheaper gathering centers and better fishing to succeed. It also relies on Fast
food, which is why no berries, though in place of hunting we could have
substituted shore fishing, the mill wouldn't have matter too much since for japs
its only 50 wood. FARMING IS A DEFINITE NO-NO, we're avoiding BERRIES cause
they're non-optimal, no way in hell you can farm and make this work farming is
evil evil evil :-)

Possible counters: Gutter rat style feudal rush if pulled off successfully, or
maybe an all out feudal naval attack IF you feudal very early. Maybe a super
fast imperial but I doubt it. A slower huge boom on their part if you don't make
use of your excellent, and speedy castle economy

Things this should absolutely CRUSH if you play it right: Your standard 18
minute/ 30 villagers who farm to castle no boat knight rush.... yeah like thats
gonna work when we castle a minute and a half earlier on the inside, 30 secs
earlier at the least (as long as we aren't sim citying to imperial like I did in
the recorded game, I have a feeling this would make for a really really good
castle attack, since it would come before they could get up more TCs), and with
more villagers, who are at least NOT getting slower cause their fishing bonus
keeps increasing :-) ...

Recorded Game Example: This is actually vs the computer, the first I've ever
given you that wasn't a real game, because this strategy requires both the
jap/viking combo and slow speed, an unlikely prospect at best on the zone. This
was my second try, an unrevealed random map i had never seen before, I paused at
the beginning to change the speed down to slow and i built my houses before i
unpaused...it made little difference tho. I hit castle at 16:48 with 45+1
villagers, and one loss to wolves. During the feudal-start castling transition I
actually had enough resources to build a villager, and start the woodchopping
upgrade while building my buildings. I didn't think i was going to have enough
wood for a rax + military building so I went market/blacksmith, however turns
out I would have had enough (but then would have had to wait for woodchopping
upgrade). I imperialed with 129 (110 or so when i started to imp) villagers at
29 minutes or so, the computer attacked once with like 15 men at arms or
something... i rang town bell, very innefficient. FX describes castling in 25
with 110 which is extremely possible, especially if A) you START imping with
less than 110 villagers (say 90) or B) you make more boats in castle.

On The Road to Expert: Day 12- Optimizing for the Big Boom
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part twelve of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

This isn't exactly a detailed step by step strategy.. it is a description of a
70 vil/20 or so castle with vikes :-) and more importantly the tips +
optimizations you need to make it happen...

Ok first off you are vikings. If you have an ally tell him or her to be japanese
and he can do the 45 villager/ under 17 japanese fast castle :-)

Your start is basically the same. 2 houses, first SIX (not seven) on sheep and
then everyone on wood. You need to find two more sheep before yours run out or
you have to go to mill.As soon as you find those two sheep build a lumber camp
and keep putting men on wood. Use the villager who built your house when you
were at pop 12 to build your dock. Walk him or her to the water as soon as
possible. This shouldn't be more than 5 minutes into the game if you didn't have
to go berries. Lure a boar for more food once your sheep have run out, Remember
to drop off (box select all your villagers on boar, right click the TC, right
click the boar again) if you don't have 50 food and the villager is just about
ready to pop out. If you don't find more sheep or one of your two boars your
scouting probably just sucks. However in the rare instance that this happens,
build a mill as soon as you get 100 wood and go berries :-(

Pump boats out of dock 1, build dock two when you get the wood and theres still
a boat producing at dock 1. Once all your boar and sheep run out (6 sheep/one
boar is enough).. DO NOT GO ON BERRIES.. Use these guys to build another lumber
camp at another forest, and send all your news guys here.

Build a third dock near as many fish as you can find and pump boats from all
three... start feudaling when u feel like it (probably when the last of the
enemies hits feudal if you're in the pocket position) and have the resources.
Shoot 6 guys off whichever lumber camp is more crowded and put them on gold (in
case of galley war) Keep pumping boats while feudaling. ITS OK if you only hit
feudal with like 175 wood, just have one two villagers build a market and build
a blacksmith when u get the wood, since the smith goes up much faster than the

Build villagers during this time and put them on wood. Keep pumping the boats
with spare wood as it comes in, if you think you're going to get into a naval
battle, go galleys instead. Get the following upgrades: Double bit axe, gold
mining, and fletching as you are castling, and Cartography if you are in a team
Once Castle, and drop tcs all over the place and pump vils from them all.
RESEARCH BOW SAW and bodkin arrow... you'll definitely have the resources,
especially since hand cart and wheelbarrow were free.


Ok now heres where the rubber meets the road: You need optimizations to make
this work- here they are:

Number your docks sequentially for ultimate boat boom performance- access them

-Remember to set gather points on all docks. Assign each a number. Hit CTRL-1
while your dock is selected, while building the first dock. CTRL-2 while
building the second. CTRL-3 for the third. Then use ALT-1 click build boat ALT-2
click ALT-3 click to quickly queue one boat at each dock.

Set your dock's gather point on the nearest deep sea fish ASAP

-Build your first dock on ANY WATER thats not a small pond.. its better to go up
fast than better positioned. Find deep sea fish. Shore fish WON'T cut it and
will result in horrible castle times with fewer resources and villagers.

-IF your boats at the first dock find lots of fish, build the second dock there,
otherwise keep walking TOWARDS A CORNER OF THE MAP (on
conti/coastal/archipeligo,islands-- anything with water on the outside) 95% of
the time there are at least 3-4 squares of deep sea fish at or near the corner
of the map, often SIGNIFICANTLY more. Move your boats from Dock 1 down here if

-The third dock should be IN THE CORNER if the second one wasn't (ie you started
far away) If your second dock was in the corner, build your third dock wherever
you want, but far from your 2nd + 1st unless great fishing (then close to defend
if a naval battle)

-Research loom when you switch from sheep to boar hunting, often theres some
villager lag there.

-Build that second pit once you see that your woodchoppers are really
inefficient, even if you're still gathering boar. Generally I determine that if
they a) have to walk almost around the forest or b) are more than two lumber
camps worth away from my original to the side, there are too many on one lumber
camp and I will build another and send all new villagers there (IE Change gather
point to new pit and try to switch it to the other side of the pit at some

-You've got to keep the boats going, even while feudaling and castling. But
don't go overboard any try never to have more than one boat producing plus one
in queue if the first is almost done.

-Luring boar is essential here. You need to go after him with a villager when
you've got just one sheep fully left and one just about done, or two partial
sheep. Shoot him TWICE with your villager then alt-right click the TC.
Grab your shepherds, right click the TC to drop off and go after the boar, its
ok if you kill it a tile or two from your Town center, Especially if its the
second boar.

-Build gold mines a tile AWAY from the gold to minimize bumping, But build mills
right up against the berries and stick a couple of villagers on the bushes at
each end.

-At least until you start castling, you have to keep your boats on deep-sea
fish. Don't rely on the minimap here... For some reason great fish, which
provide 350 food are not shown..

-If you get into a boat war, Have all your War boats gather at one spot, or stay
in their Dock if its under fire (ie garrison them as they produce). Remember
that to garrison in a military building you CANNOT right click to set the gather
point- you have to physically select garrison on the building then click the
building itself.

-Don't build any military buildings until you start castling, then build a
barracks. Before that you need the wood for boats.

-If you get into a boat war add a few men to gold.

-Make sure that you DON'T put your first docker back to work. Use him to
continually build houses closer and closer to where you want your next dock when
hes not building docks, and you'll stay ahead of the housing game.

-Make sure your first dock is with 25 tiles or so of your Town Center since your
villager may be preloom and very susceptible to wolf kills.

-When you have to make a choice between a boat or another dock (the wood is very
close, and you'll have to wait 15 secs for one or the other) choose the next
dock if the fishing is bad currently, choose the boat if its good.

-Make sure you tower your gold once you feudal (or enemies wood). Also stone
wall as much as possible, especially if you are not in the pocket of a 3v3.

-Build a mill by your first berries with one villager as you are feudaling

-Don't make more boats if your fishing is nearly depleted.

What you can do with this:
1. Frankly you can probably imperial immediately if you want. Just drop a
University and Seige Workshop or Monestary and go :-). Start mining stone, you
NEED a castle up by the time you imperial. This is especially useful in a team
game where u can have your allies build alot of the troops (PIKES!/archers) and
you pump trebuchets and work towards champs. Its incredibly hard to beat trebs
while they're still in the castle age.

2. You can castle boom like theres no tomorrow.. Drop TCs at every 275 wood (you
should be able to drop 3-6 soon after you castle, depending on conditions).
Queue 2 vils in each as soon as it goes up, and hit the H hotkey and then C and
then H again and then C for every town center you have often. Set the gather
point on your original TC on your berries, the gathering points on everything
else on wood, gold or stone. Remember that 10 villagers producing simultaneously
at 10 tcs (even if some have to walk to do anything) is better than queueing 10
at one town center. You do this right you can imperial whenever you want an hit
pop limit 200 in <40 minutes no problem.

3. You could build a castle army, however by the time you castle they have
multiple TCs up and could probably defend it pre-trebuchet.

Theres an excellent article on booming once castle (by littleknife) at


Civ choices: Works good with vikings since they get cheap docks and get a cheap
navy to fight back with once feudal.
Could also work with Celts, Japanese, or Persians.

Map choice: Will work on anything BUT Blackforest, Highland, Arabia, and
Probably Rivers unless the fishing is good. You need to find decent fishing

Works best on: Medium or larger Coastal, Continental, Archipelago, possibly
migration where the boat wars are delayed in their start and you have time to
feudal. If you do this on something like Islands, make your first dock and maybe
your second AWAY from your enemy to protect your fishing. The boom itself works
on Meditteranean and Baltic, but often you will be in a boat war before you are
ready for it on these maps with a large boat boom.

On The Road to Expert: Day 13- The 10 commandments of the Castle Age Defense
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is part thirteen of the current 13 Parts.
Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on Age of Kings
Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced EXCLUSIVELY
for MrFixitOnline. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

In my opinion (IMO) an all-out attack on land in Castle is a risky strategy at
best.. and is viable and more or less a way to victory only under 1 or 2
circumstances, especially on a water map.

Scenarios to Conduct a Viable Castle Attack:
Scenario #1:
than a knight rush in a laggy game, which is damned unpredictable), when
defended properly, will at best kill 5 or so villagers and set your opponent
back a few dozen tiles. If theres one gold mine or one gold and stone mine
there.. it may not be worth it.. HOWEVER if you cover all the gold on the map by
pushing forward those 2 dozen tiles (cept those on your side protected by TCs)
well then the games pretty much over..

The gold of this player can be taken all at once, since it is all in close
proximity. He may be ripe for a castle attack.

Scenario #2:
many castle attacks on arabia are successful. In order to fight the castle
attack YOU MUST be able to back up the original TCs that were attacked with more
TCs and seige... if you can't build enough TCs close enough to cover each other,
the castle attack will bust through and you can quite possibly lose (especially
on a tiny map where retreat is less of an option).

If you're going to defend vs a castle attack, this isn't the kind of place you
want to do it at


If either of these scenarios is not the case, an all out castle attack loses its
viability In My Opinion, ESPECIALLY on any map where you can keep control of
enough land to continue farming (or boat fishing in the case of anything water).

These are the steps to beat an all out castle attack, which is defined as
Xbows/Knights/Longswords or any combination with Rams occuring at or after
approx 20-21 minutes into the game. You should already have at least 4 Town
Centers (TCs) up at this point into the game to make the defense work properly.

This kind of attack can almost always be defeated, as long as you follow the
basic commandments of castle engagement. Try to execute these rules in order.

Basic Tenet #1
This comes before the rules, because its most important. STAY CALM. If hes
hitting you with a large castle attack after you've got multiple TCs, you are
DEFINITELY not lost.. keep calm and implement your strategy, and you will
ultimately emerge victorious.

RULE #1:
Retreat to the nearest TC... You CANNOT defend a castle attack without TCs,
especially one you are unprepared for...

RULE #2:
INCREASE YOUR WOOD GATHERING NOW ! The resource you need to defend against a
castle attack is wood wood and more wood, mixed in with about 1/4 food & gold or
LESS.. WOOD is key.

RULE #3:
PICK YOUR SPOT TO BATTLE. You CANNOT defend a castle attack on hilly terrain, or
at any place where you cannot effectively place multiple TCs... FALL BACK to a
place where you CAN build multiple TCs. The ONLY exception to this is when all
your resources are in one location. In that case, you need to make a concerted
effort to hold that location, even BEFORE they attack it.. that means multiple
TCs there early.

RULE #4:
Garrison only the number of villagers needed.. retreat the rest to the back of
the lines. IF necessary, produce villagers in forward TCs to man them (by
setting the gather point directly on the TC). Generally, the maximum number of
vils you need garrisoned at any one point is 10 or so, EXCEPT while you are
being actively attacked. Then it can range from a low of 10 to a high of 30 or
so, shooting from the crossfire of 3 or more TCs.

RULE #5:
trading space for time, and allowing your castle attacker to take down a TC or
two, (at huge cost for him). Your New TCs should be no more than 5 or 6 tiles
away from the TC currently being attacked, and try to allow them to cover each
other (ie form a little triangle with your TCs with legs of 5 or so tiles). SET
THE GATHER POINT ON YOUR FORWARD TCS to the ones in the REAR, and the ONES in
the REAR to TCs further back. In this strategy, your goal is CONSTANT TC
construction while you are under attack. If he keeps attacking you may end up
with 10 or MORE Tcs within a small area.

Building New TCs behind the front lines is essential to defeat a castle attack

TCs form a triangle of defense. Overlapping fire from the back TCs kills all
troops, while the front TC keeps him from building too close to you.

RULE #6:
BUILD A SEIGE WORKSHOP NOW. You are generally going to need 2 and ONLY 2
buildings to defeat a castle attack, one being the TC, and the other being a
Seige Workshop. Get that seige workshop up and running now. If they are going
hardcore knights, also consider a monestary- conversions will occur outside the
range of their offensive TCs.

Corolary to Rule #6:
What to build from your Seige Workshop ? Heres the answer:
It depends what you are facing.. if you are unsure, make a Ram to start, in any
case get seige going as soon as that workshop is up.
IF you are facing an archer and Ram Attack, produce nothing but rams from your
TC.. mangonels are just as effective vs the troops... but you are building Rams
so they can turn defense into offensive and ram down his forward base later.

If you are facing an infantry ram or knight ram attack, build a mixed force of
mangonels and rams.. mangonels first generally. You are building mangonels
because knights can stand up to the fire of a TC for awhile, and you want to be
sure you get a few shots in at his rams.

What you are doing with this seige is simple: ATTACK ENEMY RAMS. Use your rams
to ram enemy rams, or attack the enemy rams with mangonels. Your TCs are for
troops, the rams/mangonels are for his seige. Remember to always control the
fire of your TCs. You don't want to fall prey to the lead with a ram, then bring
your troops in technique of castle attack. DO NOT fire at rams unless they are
alone, or they are low on hitpoints.. while one fully loaded TC will beat one
ram, it just about dies doing it.. so you need to get rid of the troops and use
your seige for his.

Mangonels are excellent for castle age defense because they remain behind the
front lines- allowing them to stay clear of offensive troops.

AS SOON as his troops are gone, bring your rams forward and destroy ANY and all
buildings within the firing range of your TCs.. DO NOT go outside this range..
you need to be able to destroy any troops he attacks your seige with. once all
buildings that are covered by a TC are dead, back your seige up near a
protective TC.

As soon as you knock down the buildings withing your TCs firing range.. run a
minimum of 10 villagers forward and build a new TC to occupy the conquered
space. This is a MUST, and you have to do it quickly... try not to use ALL the
villagers in your frontmost TC, since some need to stay in and cover the
builders... you can ungarrison all but say 5 if you're short or it seems safe.
Once the forward TC is done, Garrison it and bring your rams forward and repeat
the process- destroy all buildings covered by its range (hopefully thats 8 with
bodkin) and build a new TC to cover it. Use the villagers from your backup TC to
build the new one.. in this manner you "leapfrog" from TC to TC, building new
ones and conquering territory.

Keep your continous villager flow going.. You need to use this attack to your
advantage. The attacker is attempting to do one of two things: destroy you
outright or make it so his economy is much better than yours. As long as your
keep making more villagers, the vils you have garrisoned and the TCs are roughly
equivalent to the troops he is fielding against you (if not giving the DEFENDER
the edge)... with the added benefit that once his guys are dead you have an
extra 15-20 villager economy.

RULE #10
OFTEN a castle attack on you will result in an ACTUAL castle being built in your
territory. If this is the case, you must count the tiles before placing your
TC.. you CAN build a TC that can cover the castle safely (since the castle has
+2 range, but the TC covers 4x4 tiles) Just remember to count the tiles. To do
this, place the flashing TC you are preparing to build right next to the TC,
then draw it down slowly one tile at a time, until you count to 7 (or 6 if your
TC has only fletching), then build the TC, being sure the builders build ONLY on
the side of the TC away from the castle. Remember, you DON'T need to hit the
castle with TC fire, so counting to 8 or 7 is fine too, you HAVE to cover your
Rams attacking it at the base, and having an extra tile of coverage never hurts.
Once you have this TC up, PACK it with villagers and send in the rams. IF they
have mangonels and you can't hit them with knights, leave the castle there for
now and go imperial to take it down....

Ram down that castle under cover fire from TCs. Monks can often be used to
convert knights killing rams, since a monk has a range of 9.

Lets do a Quick rundown again:
Run to a TC
Garrison that TC
Build New TCs behind it, continuously falling back until the attack is wasted.
Keep building TCs.
Build A Seige Workshop, preferably do this as you are building the back TCs
Ram /Mangonel their rams.
Ram their forward buildings in TC coverage area (build a TC to cover them if
they aren't in the area yet)
Build a new TC in the area just rammed down
Ram any forward buildings that are covered by the new TC area.
Repeat building new TC until their forward base is done for.
Ungarisson Vils and let your superior economy beat their ass.

On The Road to Expert: Day 14- The Guide to Naval Warfare
by DaRq_DarkJihad

This series is designed to improve your game by first building a foundation in
economic skills then moving on to some strategies that aren't incredibly
difficult to execute, but work. This is the long awaited Part 14! of the
continuing series. Though On the Road to expert is a series originally posted on
Age of Kings Heaven, these strategies have been updated, rewritten and enhanced
EXCLUSIVELY for MrFixitOnline. Part 14 is a Mrfixit exclusive- you saw it here
first. You can visit my website and download any of my games at

The Guide to Naval Warfare
Written by Age, with special note at the end for wars between the ages

For this article, I assume that you have read the previous on the Road to Expert
Guides on Boat Booming. I also assume you have at least a basic mastery of the
two dock boat boom. If you don't, go back and read the earlier on the Road to
Expert Articles, Available on this site. This article is rather large (in both
length and in terms of graphics), so give it a minute to load if it doesn't
immediately appear in full.

Dark Age
Believe it or Not, Naval Combat begins in the Dark Age. The placement of your
docks themselves is very important in determining who the victor will be in a
later game naval battle. In the Dark age, there are two considerations when
placing docks.

The Number one question is: How close together ? The answer to this generally
depends on fishing. Place your docks to maximize fishing efficiency- which
generally means spread docks. Spread docks are great for defending a Naval
attack, but poor for Launching them. This is because your Navy needs to STAY
TOGETHER at all costs. Spread docks allow you to run Fishing boats and maintain
food flow under a naval attack, while close docks allow your boats to stay
together. Use discretion when building your docks. If you are going for the
quick feudal naval strike, build your docks close together. If you are going for
the big boom, Spread your first two docks apart for maximum defensibility.

The number two question in Dark Age is : How many docks ? The general boat boom
wisdom has you building two docks in Dark Age. While this is usually the best
strategy, consider adding more docks in feudal if you are going to go for a
Naval Warfare Strategy. If you are going for a large boom in Dark, 3,4 or even 5
docks aren't out of the question to maximize both fishing efficiency and
Defensibility from early galley strategies.

Feudal Age
You've advanced to the point where you can make offensive ships. The only unit
you have available: The galley.

The Galley
The principle to remember when fighting with galley is mass and upgrades. With
no counters available in feudal, when going for a galley war, The determining
factors in who wins are mass, and whether or not you have fletching. Obviously
then, FLETCHING is a MUST on a water map.

The question of whether to attack in Feudal with galleys depends on the
situation. In general, a more open map with respect to the water (such as
Mediterranean), favors this strategy because your reinforcements don't have far
to go. On the other hand, on a more closed map such as migration, you are best
off avoiding this strategy. Because your docks are far from his, and often will
require skirting the main landmass, feudal galley attacks on migration or
similar maps will usually result in the defender having a larger mass of ships-
sure death for your galleys. If you are on an open water map, a fast feudal and
then galley attack can often work well, while on a more closed water map, feel
free to boat boom larger and then go for a castle age attack.

Castle Age
Castle Age brings two new ships, and a technology to upgrade your existing
ships. Be sure to use the RED ARROW on your docks to access these new ships. The
first new ship is the fire ship.

The Fireship
Fireships get a bonus vs other ships, most notably the Galleys. Fireships excel
at defense- because you can garrison them as you make them and then ungarrison
already nearly in range of attack vessels, fireships make a potent defense
against War Galley attacks. Fireships are also useful on the offense for Burning
down docks and enemy War Galleys. The most powerful ship in castle age, the Fire
Ship should be the core of any non-viking Castle Navy.

The Demolition Ship (Demo Ship)
The demolition ship also makes its appearance in Castle Age. A demolition ship
must be immediately adjacent to the enemy ships, at which point it will explode
and do a small area damage. Though billed as a counter to fireships, one
demoship doesn't quite kill off one fireship, and the radius damage is small in
castle. Best used in conjunction with War Galleys (to finish off fireships), the
only civ that really should use Demo Ships is Vikings. Without the discount, the
demo ship is really too micromanagement intensive to use in most naval combat.

The War Galley
War Galleys is an upgrade that will affect all existing Galleys. If you are
going to engage in Naval combat, War Galleys are an essential part of your army.
War galleys are best used with fireships as well. In a feudal galley war,
someone who arrives at Castle first and gets the War Galley upgrade could very
well turn the tide of the battle. Remember tha Bodkin Arrow improves War
Galley's range and damage- so get it ASAP in a Naval Battle.

The Longboat
Only available to vikings upon building a castle, In my opinion longboats are a
waste of resources. Though useful in a few situations, longboats major downfall
is the large gold cost. Part of the attractiveness of the rest of the viking
navy is the very low gold cost- allowing you to sustain it for much longer.
Galleys are usually the better solution that longboats since they serve more or
less the same purpose, and can be had much earlier and for a much lower cost.
Also, in a naval war, building a castle earlier in order to get longboats means
less wood and gold for making ships, and less food for pumping villagers- unless
its well placed offensively, its usually a mistake and could lose the naval war
for you. Some bill longboats as the solution to fire ships, but I recommend
massing War Galleys along with a few demoships as a better solution for lower
cost. I really don't recommend using longboats and so I won't talk about them

Castle Age combat with Boats
The thing to remember in Castle age is that combined arms now rules the sea. The
only civ that can win with a one dimensional Castle navy is vikings, and them
only because they have more than anyone else.
Some things to remember when fighting a naval battle in Castle age:

-You wouldn't produce champs from two barracks would you ? By the same token,
don't produce boats from only two docks. Feel free to add a third and a fourth
and more to improve fishing as well as to improve the sheer quantity of boats
you can produce.

-Fireships are the number one unit in castle age. But remember that an army of
fireships is blind. Add some war galleys to be their eyes and you will be much
more successful.

-Remember that the AI in AOK can often be exploited. To win early and crucial
naval battles, feel free to sacrifice a few fishing boats. Also, you can use
your docks as a shield- move some galleys behind it and attack one fireship at a
time, leaving one galley out front to get killed. Once the bait galley is dead,
the fireships not being attacked will autotarget your dock and you're free to
kill them one by one rather then en masse.
 currently being attacked will often autotarget your docks- and docks can take
alot more punishment than your war galleys

-Remember that mass still rules the day in Naval Battles. Retreating near to
your own docks so that the battle occurs where you can supply reinforcements
faster can help you take the seas.

This battle is deceptive. Though staffa starts out with more boats, the fact
that it occurs near my docks allows me to bring more reinforcements and win the

-While a castle by the water in imperial would be suicide vs all but a british
enemy, in castle age it is often a good move, allowing you to mass boats under
the castles protective cover fire.

A castle by the water in castle age is often a good step if you're losing the

-Careening is the only technology at the dock in castle age. It increases
piercing armor on ships by one (and +5 transport capacity). You should get it in
mid castle age if you are making an army of fireships or going up against alot
of galleys.

Imperial Age
In imperial age we gain one new boat as well as upgrades to all our existing
boats. Remember that you need War Galley to access fast fire ship/heavy demo
upgrades, and Chemistry in order to make Cannon Galleons

The fast fire ship

Fast fire ships are an upgrade to regular fireships. Fast fireships is a very
good upgrade to get, and though you'll find that fast fireships are useful in
the same situations as regular fireships. Their a must if you have them, though
having or not having the upgrade generally won't make or break your civ.

The Heavy Demolition Ship

While demolition ships were of limited use in the castle age, in imperial heavy
demo ships are often worth their weight in gold. The reason is an increase in
damage, as well as a large increase in the effectiveness of this damage with
regards to the larger area effect. Heavy demo ships can be used to take out
masses of anything. No longer used just for fireships, multiple Heavy Demos sent
at a pack of Galleons or Cannon Galleons can level it in seconds, and at a much
lower cost.

The Galleon

The galleon is an upgrade to the war galley. Galleons are very useful to have in
imperial. In packs they absolutely decimate fireships and demoships not well
managed. In addition, they often serve as low gold cost protectors of the very
valuable cannon galleons.

The Cannon Galleon

Cannon galleons are available to research for most civs (with the notable
exception of Britain) after researching chemistry. Cannons are best used for
razing buildings, though regular Cannon Galleons (CGs), actually take awhile to
do this. To be more effective at razing buildings, get the upgrade to Elite
Cannon Galleons- They destroy buildings much more quickly and have the added
bonus of being much better in combat vs other ships. Cannon galleons cost too
much to waste , though. Always escort them with Galleons or fireships to ensure
safety for your investment.

Imperial Age Naval Upgrades

Beyond the individual ship upgrades, there are four upgrades in Imperial that
affect your ships. Bracer increases the range and attack of your galleons and so
is a necessity. Chemistry increases the galleon attack by one, and is also a
prerequisite for researching Cannon Galleons. Get it as soon as possible.
At the dock itself, their are two upgrades that affect your navy. Shipwright
reduces the wood cost of ships, but at a considerable cost to you. Only get it
if you forsee running out of wood at some point (for example on some migration
maps). Shipwright means you are in the naval war for the long haul. Dry dock
essentially makes your ships 15% faster. Like the similar upgrade for infantry,
it doesn't seem like much, but it can help alot, especially for ships that must
engage before attacking (fireships and demoships). Get it when you can- its nice
but not essential early in imperial.

Tips for Imperial Age Naval Combat
-On many island type maps, the enemy may be fully or mostly accessible by cannon
galleons. In these situations, you best bet is often to avoid a land army,
Imperial as quickly as possible and build Cannon Galleons first thing. With sea
control, your enemies will be hard pressed to stop the razing and you can often
win the game.

-On maps where naval combat is factor, its often possible to wonder. If you do
wonder, make sure your wonder is in the least accessible spot for cannon

-Remember to build docks like you would build barracks for champs- cover your
island with them in an all out naval war.

-Turks get a bonus in Hitpoints for the Cannon galleon, but not the elite cannon
galleon- avoid spending the money on elite cannon galleons and instead have an
ally research them.

-A mixed army still works best in imperial. Heavy Demo ships are often under
used- First engage with your galleons then send in the demo ships under cover
and take out lots of ships all at once.

-Mass rules all. If you are losing the sea, don't keep sending boats to the
slaughter ! Build some docks on the back of your landmass and build a large mass
of boats before attacking.

General Tips not yet covered
-Remember that early in castle, a surprise attack on the opponents fishing can
be as deadly as a surprise knight rush. Build a dock or two close to your enemy
with your forward builders, and get a few fireships or war galleys garrisoned
inside before attacking. Release them into the unsuspecting enemies fishing
fleet and watch it go bye bye. Works especially well if your enemy is fighting
your navy from another direction

-Landings can be overrated. In general, the more landmass that can be reached by
Cannon Galleons, the less valuable a landing will be. In general a landing is
best done as an attack to deny wood in conjunction with a naval attack.

-If you want to do a feudal attack with galleys, you might want to scout with
one of your fishing boats as you click the button to upgrade to feudal.

-In planning for naval combat, be sure to have extra goldminers as you are
transitioning to feudal or castle. The standard 3 miners just won't cut it to
produce gold hungry navies. As a result of this, the gold mining upgrades are
essential and much more beneficial when fighting a naval war.

-The wood upgrades are THE essential upgrades on Naval combat maps. Get double
bit axe even before starting to castle, and get Bow Saw as soon as you arrive
there. Wheelbarrow isn't as essential- the Wood Upgrades should come first if
you have to choose.

-Remember to garrison your boats inside your docks to mass if you are facing a
larger force. To do this remember that you cannot right click- you must manually
select set gather point and then left click the dock.

-Feel free to make more fishing boats if you rule the seas and have good fishing
left. Its much easier than transitioning to farming and its the bonus of ruling
the seas.

-Remember that in a naval map the housing limit approaches fast. You should have
housing for 75-80 when you feudal and housing for 100 or more when you castle to
ensure maximum effectiveness

Wars between the ages
Unlike on land, you can be in real trouble if your opponent reaches the next age
and has a chance to upgrade his ships. While regular castle fireships still
counter galleons, they do so less effectively. The real difference comes when
you are fighting vs the same kind of ship. Galleons will handily beat a similar
fleet of War Galleys. By the same token, Fast fireships do much better vs
regular fireships. Fast fireships vs war galleys is just a joke- the fireships
win so bad its not even funny. So remember that the advantage in the Naval
Battles goes to the person who ages the most quickly if the battle is at a

Map Specific Considerations
Remember to take the map into account when decided which troops to use, and how
much to invest in a Naval battle.

On coastal,continental, and rivers maps, the Naval battle is usually no more
than a distraction. On these maps, your best bet is fireships- they work the
best in smaller numbers.

On mediterranean, baltic, and Islands maps, A large group of galley type ships
is often a good bet. Fireships lose to large groups of War Galleys, provide you
keep them all together and concentrate fire. While fire galleys are still nice,
you want to use more war galleys on these maps. The more open water means the
naval battle is more important, meaning that large groups of ships can and
should be the norm. These maps often have large areas reachable by cannon
galleons- make sure to use them.

On crater lake and Migration maps, the water is divided by a large center
island. While larger armies are still the norm, Fireships fare better here
because Galley armies often won't be able to travel all together, and they often
may be split due to AI pathing problems- leaving them ripe for the kill. While
Galleys are still necessary, and cannon galleons essential, fireships are much
more useful here and should be used more.

 9.                     Miscellaneous Tips and Strategies

   This section is basically a collection of tips, hints, and strategies that
   have either been sent to me, or I've found on either a website or a large
   message board.

                    **If you have any, please send them in**

 10.                            Appendices

         Cheats        [This section was taken from Cheat Code Central]

               -=These are for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings=-

While playing a game, press [Enter] to display the chat window and type one of
following codes to activate the corresponding cheat function:

RESULT                    CHEAT CODE
1000 gold                 robin hood
1000 wood                 lumberjack
1000 stone                rock on
1000 food                 cheese steak jimmy's
Instant victory           i r winner
Instant loss              resign
Fast building             aegis
Full map                  marco
Kill indicated opponent   torpedo[number]
Kill all opponents        black death
No shadows                polo
Control animals           natural wonders
VDML                      i love the monkey head
Cobra car                 how do you turn this on
Saboteur                  to smithereens
Commit suicide            wimpywimpywimpy

Cheat Codes (alternate)
While playing a game, enter one of the following codes to activate the
corresponding cheat function:

Fast construction [Ctrl] + Q
Build immutable structure [Ctrl] + P
Alternate resource menu [Ctrl] + T
View ending sequence [Ctrl] + C

Cheat Codes (command line)
Start the game with one of the following command line parameters to activate
the corresponding cheat function:

RESULT                                         COMMAND LINE PARAMETER
800 x 600 screen resolution                    800
1024 x 768 screen resolution                   1024
1280 x 1024 screen resolution                  1280
Auto save game                                 autompsave
Standard mouse pointer                         NormalMouse
Fix display problems with some video cards     Mfill
Fix SoundBlaster AWE freezes                   Msync
Disable all terrain sounds                     NoTerrainSound
Disable all music                              NoMusic
Disable all sounds except during FMV sequences NoSound
No pre-game FMV sequences                      NoStartup

              -=These are for Age of Empires II: The Conquerers=-

                  I think everything is the same as AoK.

         Building Attributes

|  Building Name   |  Age |  Cost |  Hit Points |  Attack |  Garrison | Range  |
|  Archery Range   |  II  | 175 W |     1500    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Barracks        |  I   | 175 W |     1200    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Blacksmith      |  II  | 150 W |     2100    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Bombard Tower   |  IV  | 125 S |     2220    |   120   |    5      |   8    |
|                  |      | 100 G |             |         |           |        |
|  Castle          |  III | 650 S |     4800    |    11   |    20     |   8    |
|  Dock            |  I   | 150 W |     1800    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Farm            |  I   | 150 W |      480    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Fish Trap       |  II  | 100 W |       50    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Fortified Wall  |  III |   5 S |     3000    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Gate            |  II  |  30 S |     2750    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Guard Tower     |  III | 125 S |     1500    |    6    |    5      |   8    |
|  House           |  I   |  30 W |      900    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Keep            |  IV  | 125 S |     2250    |    7    |    5      |   8    |
|                  |      |  25 W |             |         |           |        |
|  Lumber Camp     |  I   | 100 W |     1000    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Market          |  II  | 175 W |     2100    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Mill            |  I   | 100 W |     1000    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Mining Camp     |  I   | 100 W |     1000    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Monestary       |  III | 175 W |     2100    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Outpost         |  I   |  25 W |      500    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|                  |      |  25 S |             |         |           |        |
|  Palisade Wall   |  I   |   2 W |      250    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Siege Workshop  |  III | 200 W |     2100    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Stable          |  II  | 175 W |     1500    |    0    |    10*    |   0    |
|  Stone Wall      |  II  |   5 S |     1800    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Town Center     |  III | 275 W |     2400    |    5    |    15     |   6    |
|  University      |  III | 200 W |     2100    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|  Watch Tower     |  II  | 125 S |     1020    |    5    |    5      |   8    |
|  Wonder          |  IV  | 1000 W|     4800    |    0    |    0      |   0    |
|                  |      | 1000 S|             |         |           |        |
|                  |      | 1000 G|             |         |           |        |
|                                                                              |
|  *  Units can be garrisoned here only if a gather point is set on the        |
|     building while units are being created.  They cannot reenter once        |
|     ungarrisoned.  Units garrisoned in towers, Town Centers, and Castles     |
|     add attach and range.                                                    |

         Research Times

Ever wondered how long that wheelbarrow tech takes or the imperial upgrade?

Archery Range

Crossbow (Castle) – 35 seconds

Arbalest (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Hand Cannoneer (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Heavy Cavalry Archer (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite Skirmisher (Castle) – 50 seconds


Tracking (Feudal) – 35 seconds

Squires (Castle) – 40 seconds

Man-at-arms (Feudal) – 40 seconds

Longsword (Castle) – 45 seconds

Pikeman (Castle) – 45 seconds

Two-Handed-Sword (Imperial) – 75 seconds

Champion (Imperial) – 100 seconds


Fletching (Feudal) - 30 seconds

Bodkin Arrow (Castle) - 35 seconds

Scale Mail (Feudal) - 40 seconds

Bracer (Castle) - 40 seconds

Padded Archer Armor (Feudal) - 40 seconds

Scale Barding (Feudal) - 45 seconds

Forging (Feudal) - 50 seconds

Chain Mail (Castle) - 55 seconds

Leather Archer Armor (Castle) - 55 seconds

Chain Barding (Castle) - 60 seconds

Plate Mail (Imperial) - 70 seconds

Ring Archer Armor (Imperial) - 70 seconds

Iron Casting (Castle) - 75 seconds

Plate Barding (Castle) - 75 seconds

Blast Furnace (Imperial) - 100 seconds


Spy (Imperial) – 1 second

Sappers (Imperial) – 10 seconds

Elite Huskarl (Imperial) – 40 seconds

Elite Woad raider (Imperial) – 45 seconds

Elite Throwing Axe (Imperial) – 45 seconds

Elite Berserk (Imperial) – 45 seconds

Elite Cataphract (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite Chu-Ko-Nu (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite Mangudai (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite Mameluke (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite TK (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Elite Janissary (Imperial) – 55 seconds

Conscription (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Elite Longbow (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Elite Samurai (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Elite Longboat (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Elite War Elephant (Imperial) – 75 seconds

Hoardings (Imperial) – 75 seconds


Elite Cannon Galley (Imperial) - 25 seconds

Careening (Castle) - 50 seconds

War Galley (Castle) - 50 seconds

Fast Fire Ship (Imperial) - 50 seconds

Heavy Demo Ship (Imperial) - 50 seconds

Cannon Galleon (Imperial) - 50 seconds

Dry Dock (Imperial) - 60 seconds

Shipwright (Imperial) - 60 seconds

Galleon (Imperial) - 65 seconds

Lumber Camp

Double Bit Axe (Feudal) - 25 seconds

Bow Saw (Castle) - 50 seconds

Two-man Saw (Imperial) - 100 seconds


Guilds (Imperial) - 50 seconds

Coinage (Feudal) - 50 seconds

Banking (Castle) - 50 seconds

Cartography (Feudal) - 65 seconds


Horse Collar (Feudal) - 20 seconds

Heavy Plow (Castle) - 40 seconds

Crop Rotation (Imperial) - 70 seconds

Mining Camp

Gold Mining (Feudal) - 30 seconds

Stone Mining (Feudal) - 30 seconds

Gold Shaft Mining (Castle) - 75 seconds

Stone Shaft Mining (Castle) - 75 seconds


Atonement (Castle) – 40 seconds

Redemption (Castle) – 50 seconds

Fervor (Castle) – 50 seconds

Block Printing (Imperial) – 55 seconds

Faith (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Sanctity (Castle) – 60 seconds

Illumination (Imperial) – 65 seconds

Siege Workshop

Heavy Scorpion (Imperial)– 50 seconds

Capped Ram (Imperial) – 50 seconds

Siege ram (Imperial) – 75 seconds

Onager (Imperial) – 75 seconds

Bombard Cannon (Imperial) – 100 seconds

Siege Onager (Imperial) – 150 seconds


Light cavalry (Castle) – 45 seconds

Husbandry (Feudal) – 50 seconds

Cavalier (Imperial) – 100 seconds

Heavy Camel (Imperial) – 125 seconds

Paladin (Imperial) – 170 seconds


Loom (Dark) - 25 seconds

Town Watch (Feudal) - 25 seconds

Town Patrol (Castle) - 40 seconds

Hand Cart (Castle) - 55 seconds

Wheelbarrow (Feudal) - 75 seconds

Feudal Age Upgrade - 130 seconds

Castle Age Upgrade - 160 seconds

Imperial Age Upgrade - 190 seconds


Heated Shot (Castle) – 30 seconds

Guard Tower (Castle) – 30 seconds

Siege Engineers (Imperial) – 45 seconds

Treadmill Crane (Castle) – 50 seconds

Masonry (Castle) – 50 seconds

Fortified Wall (Castle) – 50 seconds

Murder Holes (Castle) – 60 seconds

Ballistics (Castle) – 60 seconds

Bombard Tower (Imperial) – 60 seconds

Architecture (Imperial) – 70 seconds

Keep (Imperial) – 75 seconds

Chemistry (Imperial) – 100 seconds

         Unit Training Time

The numbers below represent how long it takes to produce a particular unit.
This is measured in seconds and thus a lower time would be more beneficial.

Archery Range Units

Archer to Arbalest - 27 seconds

Cavalry Archer to Heavy Cavalry Archer - 34 seconds

Skirmisher to Elite Skirmisher - 22 seconds

Hand Cannoneer - 34 seconds

Barracks Units

Militia to Champion - 21 seconds

Spearman to Pikeman - 22 seconds

Castle Units

Berserk - 16 seconds

Huskarl - 26 seconds

Samurai - 16 seconds

Throwing Axeman - 17 seconds

Teutonic Knight - 19 seconds

Woad Raider - 16 seconds

Cataphract - 23 seconds

Mameluke - 23 seconds

War Elephant - 31 seconds

Cho Ko Nu - 19 seconds

Janissary - 21 seconds

Longbow man - 19 seconds

Mangudai - 21 seconds

Dock Units

Galley to Galleon - 36 seconds

Fire Ship - 36 seconds

Fast Fire Ship - 36 seconds

Demolition Ship to Heavy Demolition Ship - 31

Cannon Galley to Heavy Cannon Galley - 46 seconds

Longboat to Elite Longboat - 41 seconds

Siege Units

Battering Ram to Capped Ram - 36 seconds

Siege Ram - 36 seconds

Mangonel to Siege Onager - 46 seconds

Scorpion to Heavy Scorpion - 30 seconds

Bombard Cannon - 56 seconds

Stable Units

Scout Cavalry - 30 seconds

Light Cavalry - 30 seconds

Knights to Cavalier - 30 seconds

Paladin - 30 seconds

Camel to Heavy Camel - 29 seconds

         Attack Rates

The numbers below represent how quickly a unit attacks.  This is determined by
how many seconds are in between each attack.  Thus a lower number here would be

Archery Range Units

Archer to Arbalest - 2 seconds

Cavalry Archer to Heavy Cavalry Archer - 2 seconds

Skirmisher to Elite Skirmisher - 3 seconds

Hand Cannoneer - 3.45 seconds

Barracks Units

Militia to Champion - 2 seconds

Spearman to Pikeman - 3 seconds

Castle Units

Berserk - 2 seconds

Huskarl - 2 seconds

Samurai - 2 seconds

Throwing Axeman - 2 seconds

Teutonic Knight - 2 seconds

Woad Raider - 2 seconds

Cataphract - 2 seconds

Mameluke - 2 seconds

War Elephant - 2 seconds

Cho Ko Nu - 3 seconds

Janissary - 3.45 seconds

Longbowman - 2 seconds

Mangudai - 2 seconds

Dock Units

Galley to Galleon - 3 seconds

Fire Ship - 0.25 seconds

Fast Fire Ship - 0.25 seconds

Demolition Ship to Heavy Demolition Ship - n/a

Cannon Galley to Heavy Cannon Galley - 10 seconds

Longboat to Elite Longboat - 3 seconds

Siege Units

Battering Ram to Capped Ram - 5 seconds

Siege Ram - 5 seconds

Mangonel to Siege Onager - 6 seconds

Scorpion to Heavy Scorpion - 3.6 seconds

Bombard Cannon - 6.5 seconds

Stable Units

Scout Cavalry - 2 seconds

Light Cavalry - 2 seconds

Knights to Cavalier - 1.8 seconds

Paladin - 1.9 seconds

Camel to Heavy Camel - 2 seconds

         Movement Rates

The numbers below represent how fast a unit moves, measured in tiles per
second.  Therefore, the higher the number, the faster the unit moves and more
ground it covers.

Archery Range Units

Archer to Arbalest - 0.96 tiles/second

Cavalry Archer to Heavy Cavalry Archer - 1.43 tiles/second

Skirmisher to Elite Skirmisher - 0.96 tiles/second

Hand Cannoneer - 0.96 tiles/second

Barracks Units

Militia to Champion - 0.9 tiles/second

Spearman to Pikeman - 1.0 tiles/second

Castle Units

Berserk - 0.9 tiles/second

Huskarl - 0.9 tiles/second

Samurai - 0.9 tiles/second

Throwing Axeman - 0.9 tiles/second

Teutonic Knight - 0.65 tiles/second

Woad Raider - 1.03 tiles/second

Cataphract - 1.35 tiles/second

Mameluke - 1.41 tiles/second

War Elephant - 0.6 tiles/second

Cho Ko Nu - 0.96 tiles/second

Janissary - 0.96 tiles/second

Longbowman - 0.96 tiles/second

Mangudai - 1.43 tiles/second

Dock Units

Galley to Galleon - 1.43 tiles/second

Fire Ship - 1.35 tiles/second

Fast Fire Ship - 1.43 tiles/second

Demolition Ship to Heavy Demolition Ship - 1.6 tiles/second

Cannon Galley to Heavy Cannon Galley - 1.1 tiles/second

Longboat to Elite Longboat - 1.54 tiles/second

Siege Units

Battering Ram to Capped Ram - 0.5 tiles/second

Siege Ram - 0.6 tiles/second

Mangonel to Siege Onager - 0.5 tiles/second

Scorpion to Heavy Scorpion - 0.65 tiles/second

Bombard Cannon - 0.7 tiles/second

Stable Units

Scout Cavalry - 1.2 tiles/second

Light Cavalry - 1.5 tiles/second

Knights to Cavalier - 1.35 tiles/second

Paladin - 1.35 tiles/second

Camel to Heavy Camel - 1.4 tiles/second

         Multiplayer Taunts

       This small section is a list of the Taunts available in AoE II.

       To use them, play a Multiplayer Game, press Enter, enter the number,
       and hit Enter again.

 This section was originally moved to a separate "Taunts" guide.  It's since
 been taken down and will not be back.  I don't have the time to assemble one
 and I'd suggest looking at Age of Empires II sites for taunts.  Just about
 any funny MP3 will work.  Things from the movie "Braveheart" work well because
 of the time frame.  Also, things like Monty Python, Austin Powers, and many
 other movies provide fairly funny dialogue.


       Ever wondered how much meat was in a Sheep?  Well, here's a list of
       all the resources.

 |   Resource Name    |  Amt. of Food  |  Amt. of Wood  | Amt. of Mined Items  |
 |   Bamboo Forest    |      N/A       |       100      |        N/A           |
 |   Deer             |      140       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Gold Mine        |      N/A       |       N/A      |        800 Gold      |
 |   Jaguar           |       0        |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Jungle Tree      |      N/A       |       100      |        N/A           |
 |   Marlin           |      350       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Palm Forest      |      N/A       |       100      |        N/A           |
 |   Perch            |      200       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Pine Forest      |      N/A       |       100      |        N/A           |
 |   Salmon           |      225       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Sheep            |      100       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Shore Fish       |      200       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Snapper          |      225       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Stone Mine       |      N/A       |       N/A      |        350 Stone     |
 |   Tuna             |      225       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Turkey           |      100       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Boar/Javelina    |      340       |       N/A      |        N/A           |
 |   Wolf             |       0        |       N/A      |        N/A           |


       Make gameplay go faster with Hotkeys!

Unit Commands                        Town Center
=============                        ===========
Attack Ground                   T    Go Back to Work                    W
Convert                         C    Ring Town Bell                     B
Delete Unit                    Del   Villager                           C
Economic Buildings              B
Garrison                        G    Game Commands
Heal                            E    =============
Military Buildings              V    Chat Dialog                      Alt-T
Pack                            P    Diplomacy                        Alt-D
Repair                          R    Display Game Time                 F11
Set Gather Point                I    Display Statistics                F4
Stop                            S    Display Technology Tree           F2
Unload                          L    Flare                           Alt-F
Unpack                          U    Go To Archery Range             Ctrl-A
                                     Go To Barracks                  Ctrl-B
Military Units                       Go To Blacksmith                Ctrl-S
==============                       Go To Castle                    Ctrl-V
Aggressive                      A    Go To Dock                      Ctrl-D
Box                             W    Go To Last Notification       Home / MMB
Defensive                       D    Go To Lumber Camp               Ctrl-Z
Flank                           F    Go To Market                    Ctrl-M
Follow                          C    Go To Mill                      Ctrl-I
Guard                           X    Go To Mining Camp               Ctrl-G
Line                            Q    Go To Monastery                 Ctrl-Y
No Attack                       O    Go To Next Idle Military Unit  , / ???
Patrol                          Z    Go To Next Idle Villager       . / ExBtn2
Staggered                       E    Go To Selected Object           Space
Stand Ground                    N    Go To Seige Workshop            Ctrl-K
                                     Go To Stable                    Ctrl-L
Barracks                             Go To Town Center              H / ExBtn1
========                             Go To University                Ctrl-U
Militia, Man-at-Arms            S    Mini-Map Combat Mode            Alt-C
Spearman, Pikeman               E    Mini-Map Economic Mode          Alt-R
                                     Mini-Map Normal Mode            Alt-N
Archery Range                        Objectives                      Alt-O
=============                        Pause                             F3
Archer, Crossbowman, Arbalest   A    Review Chat Msgs Backward       Page Up
(Heavy) Cavalry Archer          C    Review Chat Msgs Forward       Page Down
Hand Cannoner                   E    Save Game                         F12
(Elite) Skirmisher              R    Send Chat Msg                    Enter
                                     Slow Down Game                   Num-
Stable                               Speed Up Game                    Num+
(Heavy) Camel                   C    Villager Build
Knight, Cavalier, Paladin       N    ==============
Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry    T    Archery Range                      A
                                     Barracks                           B
Castle                               Blacksmith                         S
======                               Bombard Tower                      J
Build Trebuchet                 R    Castle                             V
Build Unique Unit               T    Dock                               D
                                     Farm                               F
Seige Workshop                       Fish Trap                          R
==============                       Gate                               /
Battering / Capped / Seige Rams R    House                              E
Bombard Cannon                  C    Lumber Camp                        Z
Mangonal, (Seige) Onager        A    Market                             M
(Heavy) Scorpion                N    Mill                               I
                                     Mining Camp                        G
Monastery                            Monastery                          Y
=========                            More Buildings                     X
Monk                            T    Output                             Q
                                     Palisade Wall                      P
Dock                                 Seige Workshop                     K
====                                 Stable                             L
Build Longboat                  L    Stone Wall                         W
Cannon Galleon                  C    Tower                              T
(Heavy) Demolition Ship         D    Town Center                        N
(Fast) Fire Ship                R    University                         U
Fishing Ship                    F    Wonder                             O
(War) Galley, Galleon           A
Trade Cog                       T    Scroll Commands
Transport                       P    ===============
                                     Scroll Down                      Down
Market                               Scroll Left                      Left
======                               Scroll Up                         Up
Trade Cart                      T    Scroll Right                     Right

     (Legend: MMB = Middle Mouse Button, ExBtn1,2 = Extra Button #1,#2)



 Age of Empires II: The Conquerers Demo
 Author: Microsoft
 File Size: 36 MB
 Description:  This is the trial version of Age of Empires II Expansion: The 
               Conquerors.  In it you will be able to play a few of the 
               campaigns.  Note that this is a very limited version of the 
               game.  It is for sure worth the purchase.



 Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings: Version 2.0a Update

 A. Version Compatibility

 If you are playing a multiplayer game, all players must be using the same 
 version of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. For example, you cannot play 
 a multiplayer game between Age of Kings 2.0 and Age of Kings 2.0a.

 Recorded games can only be played using the same version of Age of Kings that 
 was used to record the game.  For example, you cannot play an Age of Kings 2.0
 recorded game using Age of Kings 2.0a.

 To play an Age of Kings 2.0 recorded game after installing the Age of Kings 
 2.0a update, you must temporarily revert to Age of Kings 2.0.

 To play an Age of Kings 2.0 recorded game:

 1. In the Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II folder (or wherever
    you installed the game), create an Age2 folder.
 2. Copy the following files from your Age of Kings 2.0 disc to the new Age2
    EMPIRES2.EXE (from the Game folder on the disc)
    EMPIRES2.ICD (from the Game folder on the disc)
 3. Create a shortcut to 
    Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\Age2\Empires2.EXE, with the 
    Start In folder set to Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II.
 4. Start Age of Kings 2.0 using the new shortcut, then play the Age of Kings 
    2.0 recorded game.

 B. Balance Changes

 Town Center Changes - The following changes have been made to the Town Center:

 The resource cost to build a Town Center has been increased by 100 stone.

 The time to build a Town Center has been increased.

 Missile technologies available at the Blacksmith (Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and 
 Bracer) no longer increase the range of the Town Center.

 For the Teutons, the Town Center no longer has increased range.

 For the Britons, the 50% decrease in the cost to build a Town Center now 
 applies only to wood, and this reduction in wood cost is not available until 
 Castle Age.

 C. Enhancements

 Single-Player Performance Improvements - The performance of single-player 
 campaign games has been improved, especially on lower-end computers.

 Limited Pauses - The total number of pauses available to each player in a 
 multiplayer game is now limited.  The total number of pauses remaining is
 displayed each time the game is paused.

 Display Name of Out of Sync Player - In a multiplayer game with three or more 
 players, if a player goes out of sync, that player's name is displayed in the 
 out of sync message on all computers.

 D. Bug Fixes

 Stability Improvements - A number of crashes and multiplayer out of sync bugs 
 have been fixed, resulting in improved game stability.

 Computer Player Resigning Bug - The computer player will no longer resign 
 after a few minutes of play. (Previously available in the AI Update.)

 Fish Trap Bug - You can no longer build a Fish Trap on top of an existing fish 

 Fishing Ship Bug - You can no longer use a Fishing Ship to construct buildings
 other than a Fish Trap.

 Flare and Waypoint Bug - The game no longer crashes when you set a flare or 
 waypoint location at the very Southern-most point on the map.

 Cooperative Farming Bug - When you take over a Farm foundation built by an 
 ally, you can no longer extract more than the standard amount of food from 
 that Farm.

 Farming on Forest Bug - You can no longer build a Farm or Wall on top of a 
 partially cut section of forest.

 Unit Ignoring Orders Bug - Units no longer ignore orders under some 

 Multiplayer Restore From Zone Bug - The ability to save and restore a 
 disconnected or out of sync multiplayer game on the Zone has been improved.

 Foundation Outline Bug - Building foundations now have outlines, so you can 
 now click on them when they are behind trees or other objects.

 Trebuchet Firing Bug - Trebuchets no longer miss targets that are on a 
 different elevation.

 Single-Player Campaign After Regicide Bug - A single-player game will no 
 longer automatically end immediately after a multiplayer game of Regicide was 

 Computer Player Bugs - The behavior of the computer player in multiplayer 
 games has been improved.

 Scenario Editor Bugs - A number of Scenario Editor bugs have been fixed.

 E. Uninstalling Age of Kings 2.0a

 To uninstall Age of Kings 2.0a and revert to Age of Kings 2.0:

 1. From the Start menu, choose Programs -> Microsoft Games -> 
 Age of Empires II -> Uninstall Age of Empires II.  When Setup asks if you want
 to delete all user-created files, it is recommended that you choose No.

 2. Install version 2.0 from the Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 2.0 disc.
  Download Here (English)

  Download Here (Korean)

  Download Here (French)

  Download Here (Spanish)

  Download Here (German)

  Download Here (Italian)

  Download Here (Japanese)


  Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings: AI Update

  This update addresses the issue where the computer player resigns after a few 
  minutes of play.  It does not affect multiplayer, meaning players with the
  update can play with players who do not have the update.  It is localized into
  English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian all in the same build.  You
  choose your language at the start of setup.

  Download Here

 | Random Maps |

 There are tons of official maps from Ensemble Studios.  Be sure to check out
 their website to download them - http://www.ensemblestudios.com

                                Revision History

 Version 4.0

      Several minor changes.

 Version 3.120

      Minor changes.

 Version 3.118

      Minor changes

 Version 3.117

      Moved the Revision History section.
      Added Hotkeys.

 Version 3.116

      Released [email protected] Random Map.

 Version 3.115

      Released [email protected] Random Map.

 Version 3.114

      Released [email protected] Random Map.

 Version 3.113

      Minor changes.

 Version 3.112

      Released [email protected] Random Map.

 Version 3.111

      Fixed a mistake.

 Version 3.110

      Added the new Random Maps section, which is in the Downloads area of
      the guide (bottom).

 Version 3.101

    • Added a new section "Miscellaneous Tips and Strategies."

 Version 3.100

    • Added Online Resources (above).  Check them for downloads that range from
      Taunts and Patches to Saved/Recorded Games and Different Maps.

 Version 3.095

    • Added a "Download" section, which will be constantly added to.

 Version 3.0

    • Finally the update I've been hoping for!
    • You're now looking at the most recent version and it looks a little better
      in my honest opinion.
    • If you need it spelled out for you, there has been a format change that
      can be seen throughout the entire FAQ.  This should work better

 Version 2.9

    • Finished up the Civilization Comparison Table

 Version 2.8

    • A few minor changes to the Civilization Comparison Table.  I'm just doing
      some updating that needed to be done.
    • More will be coming soon!

 Version 2.7

    • Added a few tidbits in the Resources Table.
    • Made a note in the Taunts section

 Version 2.6

    • All of the new technologies in The Conquerers has been added.

 Version 2.5

    • Added the remainder of the new units.  This was a somewhat un-expected
      update due to the other things that are going on right now for me.
    • New technologies should be in the next update.  Stay tuned!

 Version 2.4

    • Yet another update.  Whew, two updates in two days.  Well, that used to
      be normal for me, but it's surprising for me to be doing it now.  ^_^
    • I should point out the reason why I've been so busy with other things,
      shouldn't I?

      Well, my site is currently going through a major rennovation.  I'm not
      talking about a little homepage a typical Internet user can assemble in
      30 seconds, but rather a large site that gets a fair amount of traffic.
      A re-design is in the works, and this is eating up all of my time, thus
      the reason(s) this FAQ hasn't gotten too much attention lately.  To get
      an idea of the work I'm working on, I'll use these figures.

      My current site (before rennovation) consists of about 80 pages.  A
      self-projected size of the site after the rennovation is about 80,000
      pages.  I'm talking about web pages, not printed pages (on paper).  This
      is one hell of a project for me.  I should point out that these pages
      are all hand-typed.  I have no knowledge of any database software, so
      this will make it take even longer.

 Version 2.3

    • Added a few more items for The Conquerers (TC).
    • I'll add more later.  I'm busy with other things at the moment.

 Version 2.2

    • Just a minor change.
    • The Conquerers is out!  Go to your local store and pick it up!

 Version 2.1

    • Added the section "Resources."  This is not complete just yet, however.

 Version 2.0

    • Minor changes.  The Conquerers will be released pretty soon!

 Version 1.9

    • Added the "On the Road to Expert" series.  For any rookie, this is a
      must-read.  Even the experienced AoE players should read it.

 Version 1.8

    • Moved the Multiplayer Taunts to a separate guide.

 Version 1.7

    • Added Multiplayer Taunts.

 Version 1.6

    • A minor change.

 Version 1.5

    • Removed the large section on TC because it will be released in about a
    • Split the FAQ into 3 parts due to the size and time it takes for this to
      load in a person's browser.

 Version 1.4

    • Huge update in the Tips & Strategies sections.

 Version 1.3

    • A few minor changes.

 Version 1.2

    • A minor change.

 Version 1.1

    • Added a few things.

 Version 1.0

    • The first version of course, so everything is new.
    • This is the first "full" FAQ on Age of Empires II on the Internet.
    • Despite being the first "full" FAQ, expect several changes and updates.

 12.                            Acknowledgments

  - Jeff Veasey and GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com) for hosting this FAQ.

  - Al Amaloo and Game Winners (http://www.gamewinners.com) for hosting this

  - Dave Allison and Cheat Code Central (http://www.cheatcc.com) for hosting
    this FAQ.

  - Marshmallow for the idea for the header.

  - WinAmp (http://www.winamp.com) for providing a great program for allowing
    me to listen to my large sound and music library.  Without it, FAQ writing
    would just be too boring to mess with.

  - Gateway for providing a quality computer system.  Too bad Hewlett Packard
    couldn't do the same.  :(

  - GameSages (http://sages.ign.com) for any codes and tips that may be in here

  - XCheater (http://xcheater.com) for any codes and tips that may be in here

  - Game Winners (http://gamewinners.com) for any codes and tips that may be in

  - GameFAQs (http://gamefaqs.com) for any codes and tips that may be in here

  - FreeperMCM-V2 for the Hotkeys List

  - Everyone else who may have a site whose codes I may have used in here

  - I'd also like to thank my stash of notebooks, folder, and misc papers.  They
    make up the collection of my codes, hints, tips, etc, etc.  For those of you
    who are curious, the sources of the codes are unknown.  I mean, over the
    years, I've written and printed lists of codes, hints, etc from all games
    from the world, so I cann't truthfully say where they came from, other than
    the fact, that I did write them on paper.  So, if they came from a certain
    website or a person, well, I can't say, because I'm unable to remember back
    that far.

  ASCII Art created using SigZag by James Dill:   (freeware!)

  This FAQ was writen entirely using the GWD Text Editor:  (shareware)

Misc Facts about the Author:
  Email Address: [email protected]
  Web Site: http://www.ogresnet.com
  Other FAQs: Check out http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/2717.html


  << Disclaimer >>

  This document may ONLY be found on the following sites:

   1. GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com)
   2. Game Winners (http://www.gamewinners.com)
   3. Video Game Strategies (http://vgstrategies.about.com)
   4. Game Castle (http://www.gamecastle.virtualave.net/main.html)
   5. Happy Puppy (http://www.happypuppy.com)
   6. Game Revolution (http://www.game-revolution.com)
   7. Gaming Planet (http://www.gamingplanet.com)
   8. PlayStation Pit (http://www.psxpit.com)
   9. X Cheater (http://www.xcheater.com)
  10. Phat Games (http://www.phatgames.com)
  11. The Cheat Empire (http://home.planetinternet.be/~twuyts)
  12. http://www.psxcodez.com
  13. http://www.hype.se
  14. http://www.supercheats.com
  15. http://www.psxgamer.com
  16. http://apolyton.net/smac
  17. Cheat Code Central (http://www.cheatcc.com)
  18. Fresh Baked Games (http://www.fbgames.com)
  19. The Adrenaline Vault (http://www.avault.com)
  20. Ogre's Network (http://www.ogresnet.com)

  If ANY other site has a copy of this FAQ, it is an illegal copy.  So, if you
  happen to see this at another site, please notify me immediately.

  This document was made for personal use only.  No part of this document may
  be copied or used in any form of media withthout the express written consent
  of Jim Chamberlin.  Unauthorized use of any information herein is a direct
  violation of Copyright Law, and legal action will be taken.

  This document is Copyright © 2001 Jim Chamberlin.  All Rights Reserved.

        No part of this FAQ may be used in any way, shape, or form
        without express written consent of Jim Chamberlin.

                                     _   _
                             .oooO  / ) ( \  Oooo.
                             (   ) / (  )  \ (   )
                              \ ( (   ) (   ) ) /