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Thread: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

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    Default Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire


















    eep South in the Balkan Peninsula lays a realm older than any of its neighbors. With roots back in time, this realm has seen countless states and countries come and go, while “she” has survived as if untouched by time or due to divine intervention. Eras have come and passed, religions have been founded and forgotten, nations have immigrated and resettled, but these people have not lost their continuity with the past. Being established millennia ago in the ancient times, having witnessed the dark ages and middle ages, now the “Empire of the Romans” is about to get a small glimpse of the European Renaissance.

    The lands of the Roman Empire extend from the far north at the Rhodope Mountains to the far south where the Aegean Sea meets the Isle of Crete, currently occupied by the Venetians; and from the East in Asia Minor to the West and the coasts of the Adriatic Sea. Alas, all these lands are not unified as they were in the past; the outcomes of the Fourth Crusade of the Latins, who captured Constantinople on their way to the Holy Lands and founded the Latin Empire of Romania, are still visible. Pieces of land are divided between numerous factions who fight each other with no end. The Peninsula of Morea in the south serves as an example: Romans, Angevins, Venetians, Franks and Catalans all possess smaller or bigger chunks of land in a mountainous region full of castles, towers and forts.

    The situation was getting better in the near past with the reconquest of lost Roman lands, and the dream of a unified Empire was close to coming true, successfully consolidating Roman control over lands lost 150 years ago. Unfortunately the situation has changed greatly in the last few years. The Empire is currently being crippled by another devastating civil war on all levels: social, religious and administrational ones, and furthermore the neighboring realms have joined in to get whatever they can for their own advantage.




    fter the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Roman Empire has lost its former glory and its has followed what it seems to be a steady decline. Although the Imperial forces recaptured the Capital in 1261 and most of the European lands over the next century, the core of its military and financial power –Asia Minor – was abandoned and lost in the beginning of the 14th century, leaving the Empire with a handful of coastal cities in our timeframe. All the others have fallen one by one to the hands of the various Turkish beys and emirs, excluding the Romans from their recruitment pools and bringing them hordes of immigrants that need to be taken care of.

    Despite the Empire successes in Europe the last years, the stability of the state is shaken by numerous civil wars between the nobles, between the Enotikoi (who want a union with the Pope) and the Anthenotikoi (who don’t), between the upper and lower social classes, and between the monks (on religious matters such as “Esychasmos”). In our timeframe the “Basileia ton Rhomaion” is facing all these various social struggles that are threatening to weaken her.

    Four years ago, in 1341, the emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos passed away in the age of 45, leaving his heir, John Palaiologos, too young to rule. His best friend and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Forces (Megas Domestikos) – John Kantakouzenos – who had persistently denied the rank of Co-Emperor when the Basileus was alive, offered to be the young emperor’s regent. Unfortunately after some months, Anna of Savoy – the Empress mother – John XIV Kalekas – the Ecumenical Patriarch – and Alexios Apokaukos – the Prime Minister (Mesazon) and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Fleet (Megas Doux) – led a coup d’ etat against Kantakouzenos because they didn’t trust him and in order to influence the young Heir. So they forced the Megas Domestikos to flee to Didymoteichon with his family and other nobles.

    The army opposing to this move, acclaimed him co-Emperor along with John Palaiologos, giving the newly formed Regency reason for conflict. When the operations began, the armies of the Regency had the upper hand and captured many cities in Macedonia and Thrace except Didymoteichon where the Grand Domestikos has set up his headquarters. The vast majority of the Aristocracy had joined forces with the Kantakouzenoi as they were opposed by the lower classes of the Empire, favoring the young Heir and the Regency (as in the case of the Zealots of Thessalonica), furthermore Kantakouzenos was a close friend of Gregory Palamas – the leader of the Hesychast movement – and soon the conflict took also a religious aspect.

    After his ally, the Serbian king Stefan Dushan abandoned him in order to join the Regency, along with the Bulgarian Tsar, Kantakouzenos turned to his personal friends, the emir of Aydin Umur and the Ottoman emir Orhan, for support. In the next years, Kantakouzenos with the help of his eastern allies turned the tide, besieged the second city of the Empire – the Symbasileuousa Thessalonike – and liberated more cities in Thrace, among them the capital of Thrace Adrianoupolis. Presently only Constantinople, the coastal cities of Thrace along with the islands remain in the hands of the Regency that is now in a difficult position. Only time will show if Kantakouzenos will prevail or if the Regency will be able once again to turn the tide and win this war…




    he lands of the empire are situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, being a prized object to every conqueror. In the north lies the traditional enemy of the Romans – the Second Bulgarian Empire, led by Ivan Alexander, a quite competent Bulgarian Tsar, who does not hesitate to provide his troops to either side in return for territorial gains. In the North West lies the Kingdom of Serbia, with the cunning King Stefan Dushan; a man with ambitions high as the office of the Roman Emperor; a man who will do anything in his power to extend his rule all over the Balkans. And to the West are the Angevins of the Kingdom of Sicily, who possess lands in western coastal Greece and are very willing to follow the steps of Robert Guiscard several centuries ago against the Romans.

    To the south the remnants of the Latin Empire are situated. The Principality of Achaea, the Angevins of Sicily, other various lords and barons, along with the Duchy of Athens, recently conquered by the Grand Catalan Company, pose an obstacle to the unification of all Roman lands. In the Aegean Sea, the two maritime republics – Venice & Genoa – strive for the ultimate control of the precious mercantile ports and stations of the isles along the routes of the Trade with the East and the Levant, and are eager to deprive the Empire from her few remaining insular possessions in the northern Aegean. In addition, the crusader knights of the Order of St. John make their appearance in the region, by occupying the Dodecanese Islands in the south and by launching attacks against the infidels in the East.

    Then there’s the East where numerous Turkish beys have taken advantage of the power vacuum in the region in order to create their own states. The most powerful of them are the Ottoman, the Aydin and the Karaman Beys, whose principalities exceed all others in matters of size, strength and influence. They must be dealt with caution as, when they get out of lands to conquer, they will look to expand their rule to the remaining Roman coastal lands and if possible also to the West – Europe and the Greek isles.

    In order to successfully confront all of these realms that try to one must try to find allies in the north and the west. The eastern principalities of Wallachia and Moldova do not see with a kind eye an expansion of the Bulgarians, nor do Bosnia and Hungary the growth of Serbia. A successful diplomat can use the hatred between Genoa and Venice and make fight each other for his own interest, and can also make the Turkish beyliks squabble with each other leaving the Roman lands at peace. Last but not least, one can use the events of the Sicilian Vespers and the fight between Trinacria and Sicily in order to distract the Angevins of their Roman possessions, so that the latin principalities can lack a necessary ally for their survival.


    ince the fall of Constantinople into the hands of the Latins, there have been many changes in the government of the Romans. So, like many centuries ago during the dark ages of the Empire in the 7th century, the government and the bureaucracy of the Empire has to adapt. Thus the state has become more militarized whereas many of the civilian and social sectors of the government have diminished.

    The overall government and all its branches are headed by the prime minister (called Mesazon) whose office is called Mesastikion, with the Megas Logothetes, Megas Protoproedros and Protascretes, heading each of the equivalent executive, legislative and judiciary branches. The governmental ministries of the Army and the Navy (Sekreton tou Stratiotikou & Sekreton tou Ploimou) have remained strong, whereas the foreign and several other financial ministries have eclipsed, leaving their respective ministers only with ceremonial duties. Another ministry currently operating is the one of the Maritime Shipping (Sekreton tes Thalasses) coordinating the merchant shipping all over the Empire. The Roman Senate is now unfortunatelly under functioning, with meetings now housed in the Imperial Palace, since the Senate houses have been burnt down. Most of the roman senators are also part of the government and some even close relatives of the emperor, and so only rarely do their voices are heard against him. Concerning the Judiciary, a new Supreme Court (Basilikon Sekreton) has been established in the capital after the reconquest of Constantinople in 1261. Also there are provincial and circuit judges in the provinces and many more in Constantinople delivering justice in the Land.

    The Empire is divided into many different Themes and Kephalatikia each one headed by a Governor named Kephale with combined civil and military roles. Although they control the cities, the villages and the lands of the province, the army is now under a totally different system. With the old thematic armies long gone, the empire has now focused on a different recruitment system. The Imperial Army is now mainly based on the Pronoiai and the Allagia system. All the soldiers are now part of the central imperial army, headed by Megas Domestikos, either stationed in the capital or the provinces. Only the emperor’s own contigent, the Imperial Guard, is headed by Megas Primmikerios and is housed near the capital or even inside the emperor’s palace. Furthermore, with the steady decline of the Imperial Navy, all the remaining vessels are situated near the capital under the command of the Megas Doux.

    All these ranks, positions and nobility titles are held by the same noble families for centuries, and although there are many new additions, the aristocracy has now de facto rights to the governance of state. Their attitude towards the lower classes of the society leaves a lot to be desired and most of the time they exploit the tax system for their own benefit. As a result when opportunity presents itself, “hoi polloi” rebel against their oppressors, as it happened also during our timeframe with the lower classes that joined the Regency side against Kantakouzenos and the noble families that support him. A notable example are the Zealots of Thessalonica who overthrew completely the governor and his lieutenants, establishing their own “popular” democracy in the Balkan region for the first time since ancient times, millenia ago.




    he Eastern Roman Imperial Church headed by Constantinople continues to assert its universal authority. Despite the massive loss of lands in Asia Minor and Europe, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is still the spiritual leader of orthodox Christians everywhere, with the Roman Emperor being the temporal one. Unfortunately with this state of affairs many orthodox churches established their autonomy, like the Serbian church in 1219, the Bulgarian Patriarchate in 1203, the Moldovan Church in 1381, acknowledging only nominally Constantinople’s primacy in the Church. But within the Empire, all religious matters affect both the Church and the State, and thus are dealt by both of them to deter any future unrest that may do any harm. Specifically, during the 14th century the Church and the Empire were troubled by a theological dispute that came to be known as the “Hesychast Controversy” with dimensions reaching to the strangest of matters: from Aristotelism vs. Platonism, and nominalism vs. realism, to monastic vs. secular clergy, latin vs. byzantine churches, lower social classes vs. aristocrats, and eventually John Kantakouzenos’ supporters vs. the Imperial Regency.

    Hesychasm (from grk. Ησυχασμός from Ησυχία “stillness, rest, silence”) is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Orthodox Church practiced by monks. Based on Crhist’s injunction in the Gospel of Matthew to “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray”, hesychasm is the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiental knowledge of God. The Hesychast is to descend his mind into his heart (sometimes quite literally) so as to practice both the Jesus prayer and sobriety with his mind in his heart. By this exercise, the practitioner arrives at a continual practice of the Jesus Prayer («Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν» or “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner”) where his consciousness is no longer encumbered by the spontaneous inception of images. This state of mind is the practice goal of the Hesychast through his life, and when he succeeds it, he is raised to contemplation by the Grace of God, usually experiencing it as light, the Uncreated Light of the eastern Theology, the same light that had been manifested in Jesus’ Disciples on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration.

    This monastical practice attracted the attention of a learned member of the Orthodox Church, Barlaam, a Calabrian monk who at the time held the office of abbot in the monastery of St. Saviour in Constantinople, in 1337 when he visited Mount Athos, encountering Hesuchasts and hearing descriptions of their practices, and also reading the writing of the teacher in Hesychasm of St. Gregory Palamas, himself an Athonite monk. Trained in Western Scholastic theology, Barlaam was scandalized by Hesychasm and began to combat it both orally and his writings, regarding this practice as heretical and blasphemous, propounding a more intellectual and propositional approach to the knowledge of God than the Hesychasts taught.

    On the Hesychast side, the controversy was taken up by St. Gregory Palamas, afterwards Metropolitan Archbishop of Thessalonica, who was himself very well-educated in Greek Philosophy. St. Gregory defended Hesychasm in the 1340s at three different synods in Constantinople, and he also wrote a number of works in its defence. Specifically, in 1341 the dispute came before a synod held at the capital and presided over the late Emperor Andronikos III, which resulted in condemning Barlaam, who recanted and returned to Calabria, afterwards becoming bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. One of Barlaam’s friends, Gregory Akindynos, took up the controversy which also played a role in the civil war, with Kantakouzenos being sympathetic towards the Hesychasts, and the Regents being hostile towards them. Three other synods on the subject were held, at the second of which the Barlaamists gained a brief victory. But in 1351 at a synod under the presidency of the Emperor John IV Kantakouzenos, Hesychast doctrine was established as a dogma of the Orthodox Church.







    he Roman army of the Palaiologan era, despite its size, was much different from its foreign contemporaries. The recruiting system was divided between local troops, named Kastrenoi (from gr. kastron = castle), the professional troops, (both the smallholding soldiers and the more wealthy pronoiars), named Allagitai, who joined the imperial Allagia (=Regiments) which were the central imperial army stationed in the provinces, and the Palace and other Special troops, named Basilikoi [Anthropoi] (=Imperial [men=troops]), who were stationed in the capital. Some other categories of troops were the various mercenaries, grouped into Syntrophiai or Hetaireiai, who offered their services to the local governors and the emperor himself, and also the auxiliary troops who were given to the Romans by their allies.

    This grown heterogeneity of composition was not in itself a negative trait for the roman army. Each of the major type of soldiers - pronoiars, mercenaries, smallholding soldiers, local troops and palace guards - had its own strengths which in aggregate compensated for the intrinsic weakness of each other type of soldier. Thus, Pronoia soldiers, unlike smallholding soldiers, were usually heavy cavalry and less expensive than mercenaries because they were paid "at the source" and could be given properties in pronoia that the state otherwise might have found difficult to administer. Pronoia soldiers, however, often held their pronoiai in out of the way places and this made them difficult to muster and their dependence on these revenues hindered their participation in long or distant campaigns. Mercenaries, on the other hand, campaigned as long their salaries were paid, but they were the most expensive troops (to maintain), and the state frequently found itself short of the ready cash to pay them. Smallholding soldiers were the best bargain, and their attachment to the land upon which they lived made them better suited to hold frontier positions than either pronoia soldiers or mercenaries. But smallholding soldiers were at best light cavalry, and since they were frequently backward, clannish foreigners, they were not the most reliable or disciplined troops. In addition, the Palace troops could form the core of the campaigning army, but with no other support, they couldn't be able for important results, due to their limited numbers. Finally, the Local troops - such as watchmen, peasants, levies and guards - could add to the total size of the army, giving it a view of strength, but their overall behaviour in battle was at best questionable.

    A note: many of the upgrades below simply include partial plate armour, which will be available later in the game, through the technological progress




    s far as the garrisoning of city walls & fortresses, and the guarding & safety of the surrounding areas, was concerned, the historical sources mention the "civilian duties" with many names. Terms such as Tzakonike Phylaxis (Tzakonian guard), Phylakes Politai (Citizen Guards), Viglai (<-lat. Vigiles= Watchmen) are mentioned. Concerning the name Tzakones or Tsakones, it appears in the sources , as far back as the 10th century by Constantine VIII Porphyrogennetos as certain troop divisions assigned to the Empire’s forts and composed of impoverished soldiers who were no longer able to maintain themselves properly. During the courses of centuries, the name was also applied to the light armed soldiers whom Michael VIII Palaiologos brought in the 13th century from the Peloponnese (specifically from Laconia=Tsakonia) to Constantinople, to fight as marines for the imperial navy and to guard the palace.

    The duties of the people in charge of the Apoviglisis were sentinel duty at the gates, night-watch and process serving, the watch over the kastron, particularly at night and for the control of the fires (public lighting), the enforcement of orders of civil magistrates; plus patrols in rural areas and guarding of pyrgoi (towers) outside the city. These were the daily, tedious yet necessary paramilitary burdens that did not require the skills of a trained soldier, and thus they usually fell upon the inhabitants and civilians of the town, plus the inhabitants of the surrounding territory, to the extent to which they were dependent on the protection of the Kastron.

    1. Akontistai (grk. Ακοντισταί)
    (Other Names: Paroikoi, Psiloi)

    Akontistai are nothing more than peasants lacking military training and discipline, from among the poorest in society, who are ordered to fight by the local ruler. They form, perhaps the largest part of a local levied army. Their primary weapon is a handful of light hunting javelins but these light infantrymen are also equipped with a knife or axe and a small wooden circular buckler for when they are forced to engage in close combat. Their javelins make them useful against cavalry, but they are very vulnerable in melee combat with almost anyone.

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    2. Psiloi (grk. Ψιλοί)

    Psiloi are peasant archers who are levied or drafted in times of war for the defense of their land and the defense of their city. Most of them are accustomed to using their bow for hunting. These peasant archers are armed with a small bow (designed for hunting rather than war), and a knife or a small sword. Their bows are referred as “soft” due to the string’s power. These peasants are not professionals to know how to handle a military composite bow. They're only moderately effective as archers, and should not be relied upon.

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    3. Viglai Pezoi (grk. Βίγλαι Πεζοί)
    (Other Names: Phylakes, Tzakones, Phylakes Politai)

    In the smaller Roman towns, remote from the major centers, guard service is an obligation on most of the population, performed on a rotating basis. To the extent to which the inhabitants of the surrounding territory are dependent on the protection of the kastron, they too are obliged to bear part of the burden. The citizens of the city who are charged with the apoviglisis, having to do sentinel duty at the gates, night-watch and process serving, watch over the kastron, particularly at night and for the control of the fires, enforcing of orders of civil magistrates. They do this on a rotating basis, and are armed with a spear and and light shield, probably provided by the local governor, without any significant armour, except from, perhaps, a padded suit for people with better financial situation.

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    4. Viglai Hippeis (grk. Βίγλαι Ιππείς)
    (Other Names: Phylakes, Tzakones, Phylakes Politai)

    For areas outside the kastron, such as look-out posts, sentries, watchtowers and generally for the looking after and protection of the whole region against bands of brigands and thieves, there must certainly have been viglai on horseback, who could go quickly from one place to another for messenger or police duty. In sources (like in the false chrysobulls with the date 1342 for the monastery of Zografou; also in a ruling of the metropolitan bishop of Naupaktos John Apokaukos in 1228 etc. etc. ) these mounted watches (viglai) are mentioned. That reference suggests service out-side of any fortified position. These were armed probably like the infantry, but they had also a mount, for covering bigger distances. These mounts were of cource noting like the war horses and big stallions, but just dragging horses taken from the farm fields.

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    5. Tsakones (grk. Τσάκωνες)
    (Other Names: Phylakes, Kastrophylakes)

    In more prosperous and populous kastra with a higher degree of social organization, part-time obligatory service gave way to the creation of a professional class of guards with their own special status and identity. These Tsakones (named with an "s" to distinguish them from the marines/palace guards below) who were paid by the citizens, through a payment of a tax called Vigliatikon (from the name of all these paramilitary burdens), could afford a better metal armour, they were armed with swords, and could form the core of a local army in times of need, serving also as the personal bodyguard of the local governor.

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    he units made up from pronoia holders (wealthy or poor), who were stationed in the provinces, were called Allagia (=Regiments). These Allagia could seen as an effort to reconstitute a provincial administrational apparatus composed of “thematic” regions for military, as well as, fiscal and administrational purposes. As a result, the status of these troops varied greatly, ranging from smallholding soldiers to powerful Magnates, who controlled vast areas of land and hailed from known aristocratic families. They reinforced the local defence and, unlike the kastrenoi, they participated in military campaigns, and manned the border garrisons of the roman camps and fortresses called Droungoi (Kleisourai, in older times).

    By analyzing the sources, which only speak about the cavalry units of the Allagia (as Kantakouzenos puts it: “only the wealthy cavalrymen (stratiotai) and Latin mercenaries are soldiers worthy of respect”), the bigger formations, like those of Thessalonica etc, called Megala Allagia (Grand Regiments), also contained corps of heavy cavalry, made up from Stratiotai, Kavallarioi & Dynatoi, who according to Pseudo-Kodinos, were called Megaloallagitai. These corps were, as we seen in the sources, well-to-do soldiers, who could afford to participate in lengthy campaigns, bringing with them several mounts and beign accompanied by one or to servants. The other, less “respectable” soldiers were mentioned by Pseudo-Kodinos as Trikavalloi, Dikavalloi and Monokavalloi (these with three, two and one mount respectively), and generally were smaller pronoiars and smallhodling soldiers, who had smaller Pronoiai that led to fewer resources and therefore to them being lighter armoured and with fewer mounts.

    Apart from the cavalry, we can indirectly extract from the historical texts that not all allagitai were wealthy or even well-to-do soldiers, having to serve not only in the city named after the allagion but also in the wider district and performed garrison duties as well in forts, towers and castles. The roman authors divided the army soldiers to Psiloi (light armed soldiers), Hoplites (standard infantry) and Kataphraktoi (heavy armoured cavalry), and focus their descriptions only to the latter group. As a result, there were many archers and infantrymen of course, who formed the basis of the professional army, and are omitted from the sources due to them not being heavy cavalrymen.

    1. Toxotai (grk. Τοξόται)
    (Other Names: Psiloi)

    Some soldiers of the Allagia were frontier guards, including archers, who manned frontier fortifications. Apart from their active part in the campaign, these archers are also used in the task of guarding the camp when the army had to stop. Also as Kantakouzenos mentions, they were sent on missions by the emperor in order to act as garissons, meaning professional camapignign duties.

    The only indigenous Romans to use the bow were the light infantry troops, of which we know very little. The bow in use was of the short re-curved composite style, often called the “Scythian” bow, usually with bone or horn tips, which with its short draw and small size was ideally suited to cavalry use. On horse or foot, a quiver hung at the archer’s side. At times they are offered pay, but usually they fight with the hope of acquiring plunder. Except for their bows, they also carry round shields and axes or small swords for melee fight, but some of them, though the profits and plundering of campaigning or from the pay of their commander, they can afford padded armour and the most “well off” of them can even get chain mail armour.


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    2. Peltastai (grk. Πελτασταί)

    (Other Names: Trapezitai, Akritai, Skopoi)

    Their name comes from the greek word "Peltas" that was used for the small wooden or metal shields in the roman sources. The soldiers that were equipped with such a shield were called Peltastai. These soldiers are part of the border guard forces, often appearing in the sources. Also known as highlanders, and Akritai in the old days, they are called Peltastai mostly in the western parts of the Empire. Their primary role is to guard the fortified road passages and border forts placed in strategic points of the provinces. They are also part-time farmers or landlords, living in smallholding communiies located in stategic areas of the empire. They are armed with 2-3 heavy javelins and as a secondary weapon they carry, being more trained than the regular citizens, a wide variety of melee weapons such as axes and - mainly - swords. They are also equipped with some leather padded armour but after campaigning they may be able to afford chain-mail armour.

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    3. Oikonomiai (grk. Οικονομίαι)
    (Other Names: Trapezitai, Akritai)

    Holding a piece of land called an Oikonomia which is lower in value than common pronoia, these soldier-farmers provided the light cavalry and light infantry, and were the principal means of maintaining native provincial troops, including some, or perhaps most border fort garrisons. They are the small-holding soldiers that are on horseback and they can be classified as light cavalry. Armed with a spear, several javelins, a triangle shield, and padded or scale armour they should be used more for harassing and pursuing than actual combat. They are the mounted matching of the Peltastai as smallholding soldiers who guard the borders of the empire and has also been called highlanders due to their location in the mountainous passages which they watch. Also, they are the equivalent of the Akritai of the old times and they are continuing their duty in protecting the edges of Romania.

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    4. Tzangratores (grk. Τζανγκράτορες)
    (Other Names: Tzangratoroi, Tzangrotoxotai, Zangratores)

    The Romans were slow to adopt the crossbow, and this is seen in the absence of a consistent spelling for the word for crossbowmen (tzangratores or tzangratoroi or tzangrotoxotai [by the early 13th-century historian Niketas Choniates] etc.). The name of the crossbow (“tzangra” from the Latin word “cancer” meaning “crab”) first appears in the sources as far back as the 1020s. They are certainly in use during our time frame, as we learn from Kantakouzenos’ account, that during the siege of Apros by Andronikos III, the town had been especially reinforced by 220 cavalry, 200 archers and 30 crossbowmen from Constantinople. The crossbowmen are also appearing in other sources, some of them concerning garrisons in Thessaly. Pseudo-Kodinos also mentions the “Stratopedarches of the Tzangratores” (also appearing in all the late Roman lists of precedence) who commands the garrison of the crossbowmen in Constantinople. As for the social status of the troops, there is little evidence with which to work; this in itself suggests that these soldiers enjoyed a relatively modest social and economic status but we can also see, in some cases, a parallel in the brotherhoods of marksmen in 13th and 14th century Belgium. The tzangratores are better paid than the regular archers and consequently they can afford better armour protection. They wear padded armour and in some cases they can also be protected by mail armour, making them part of the heavier troops that can be both effective in melee and deadly due to the accuracy of their weapon.

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    5. Kontaratoi (grk. Κονταράτοι)
    (Other Names: Skoutatoi, Hoplitai)

    The foot troops or infantry (pezoi) were divided into two groups, heavily and lightly-armed, for which Kantakouzenos and other authors use the classical terms Hoplitai (or to hoplitikon [phossaton=army]) and Psiloi (or to psilon [phossaton]). Hoplites were usually present when an army was being transported by ship or was fighting aboard ship. Hoplites formed part of a land army or a garrison, but their presence on foot in at least one case was due to lack of horses. This suggests that “hoplites” could be either cavalry who lacked horses or were temporarily fighting without horses, or well-equipped troops who usually fought on foot. These troops are the trained Roman soldiers. They are basically all that is left of the once great Roman professional army. Cotemporary pictures show that the equipment of the average soldier is the short mail corselet with short sleeves and occasionally a collar, though some substitute lamellar cuirasses or scale armour. They are also armed with a spear (kontarion) and carry shields, of the long, straight-sided triangular Roman type; basically they are the spar arm of the Skoutatoi. The kontaratoi also acquire heavier cuirasses if they can afford it or if they were given as a gift by the higher commanders. As a result, their armament makes them specially suited for defense. This kind of infantry can form a sold backbone of the army in the cities and in the field. Their dresses are usually colored red or blue in surviving sources, though shades of green, mauve and occasionally purple also appear. Along with other troops, they are paid through special taxes which are called variously either as exelaseis, “drawing out” (or ekbolai) of Kontaratoi (spearmen), pezoi (infantrymen), ploimoi (sailors), toxotai (bowmen) etc. etc., or as “kontariatikon” (charge for spears), the “exelasis ploimon” (extraction of sailors), and the “dosis toxarion” (giving of bows), as well as the “euresis basmoulon” (finding of Gasmouloi) found in a 15th century document.

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    6. Spathatoi (grk. Σπαθάτοι)
    (Other Names: Skoutatoi, Hoplitai)

    Spathatoi (literally meaning swordsmen) are the brothers-in-arms of Kontaratoi, basically they are the sword arm of the Skoutatoi. Cotemporary pictures show that the equipment of the average soldier is the short mail corselet with short sleeves and occasionally a collar, though some substitute lamellar cuirasses or scale armour. They are also armed with a sword (spathion or paramerion) and carry shields, of the long, straight-sided triangular Roman type. This kind of infantry can form a sold backbone of the army in the cities and in the field. Their dresses are usually colored red or blue in surviving sources, though shades of green, mauve and occasionally purple also appear.

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    7. Stratiotai (grk. Στρατιώται)

    (Other Names: Pronoiarioi)

    In the late Roman Period, a pronoia (literally, “providence”, “care”, “solicitude”) was a grant by the emperor of the state’s fiscal and usufructuary rights over a defined set of revenue sources to an individual or group of individuals. The fiscal rights bestowed in pronoia were generally the claim on the taxes and state charges burdening dependent peasants (paroikoi) and the taxes burdening immovable property, usually land, but including mills, mines, fisheries, docks, and so forth. Although pronoiai were granted to a variety of recipients, the majority of pronoiars were probably soldiers. Military pronoiars were a fundamental part of late Roman armies. In fact, from reading the historians, the sense is strongly conveyed that only two common ways to remunerate soldiers were with money and with pronoia. Kantakouzenos makes this same twofold distinction between mercenaries (not necessary foreigners) and pronoiars, referring to the latter as those soldiers who received “income from villages”.

    In documentary sources a pronoia is most often called an Oikonomia (arrangement, dispensation), sometimes a Posotes (quantity or value), and rather infrequently a Pronoia. Similarly, only rarely were holders of pronoiai referred to by the term Pronoiarios (pronoiar), but in the 13th century, the expression frequently used to denote pronoiars was simply “those holding pronoiai” or a similar phrase, while in the 14th century the word for pronoiar was exclusively Stratiotes (meaning soldier). Pronoia was hardly the most common form of remuneration for the army; there were more smallholding soldiers and certainly more mercenaries than pronoia soldiers. Pronoiars, unlike the smallholding soldiers, had larger holdings which generally did not farm, but on an individual basis acted as landlords and tax collectors, frequently in out-of-the-way places. Though of good financial status, the stratiotes’ position was not so elevated that he could not be excluded from the aristocracy and placed in a class by himself, but rather, he was a pronoia soldier and a lesser aristocrat. Thus they can afford better armour protection such as chain mail, spears, mace, swords (probably from the wet) and heavy triangular shields. They also relied on brimmed chapel-de-fer war-hats and substantial, often face covering mail. Lamellar on top may have been coming into use as a result of steppe influence. Some illustrations also hint at rigid arm defences, probably of hardened leather, worn beneath other garments while stiffer riding boodts may indicate Alan of Georgian influence.


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    8. Kaballarioi (grk. Καβαλλάριοι)
    (Other Names: Lizioi)

    After the fall of the Latin Empire, several of the western knights sought “employment” in the reinstated Roman Empire. Many of these became permanent residents of the Empire and served the Emperor on a regular basis. These soldiers and their descendants were incorporated into the Pronoia system. While Kaballarioi started out as Latin knights, were fully incorporated into the Roman Empire, dressed and talked like Romans and a generation later their children were Romans proper. Bravery in battle and loyalty to the Emperor would be rewarded with a fief and a title which besides honor would also place them in at least two lists of precedence, but very near the bottom. With them, the word Kaballarios from the general meaning of “horseman” came to signify the western type “knight”. They are equipped in a half-Western style with large Western horses, mail armour, Western triangle shield, thick lance, and long sword although they have lack of horse barding. While not quite as fast as most eastern cavalry, they have a powerful charge and are equally effective in melee combat, though still no match for a Western Knight. The Kavallarioi are knights, a step up from Stratiotai in morale, horsemanship, chivalry and equipment. Apart from the Dynatoi (Magnates) who resemble the old cataphracts, they are the best horsemen the Romans have. They are the Empire’s best hope at fielding a good enough cavalry, without having to sustain the outlandish costs of horse metal armor as well.

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    9. Dynatoi (grk. Δυνατοί)
    (Other Names: Aristokratai, Megistanes, Logades, Aristoi, Archontes)

    They are the aristoi (best), the epiphaneis (illustrious), the eugeneis (well-born), the logades (hand-picked), the dynatoi (powerful), the senate, the eugenesteroi (higher-born) and the megistanes (magnates). They own great hereditary pronoias with numerous paroikoi and, in some cases, with small private armies. Though not as heavily armoured as the heavily plated Western knights, they are the heaviest and the best equipped of the pronoiars the Empire can field, with many layers of chain and scale mail and with heavily barded strong horses. They are the “descendants” of the old cataphracts, fighting with heavy spears/lances but also with the Romans’ favorite mace and using a long triangular shield. Usually they are accompanied in action by retinues made up of their “oikeioi” (kinsmen and companions) and “oiketai” (retainers), the largest such retinues are unlikely to have exceeded 30-80 men, the majority probably comprising a mere handful.

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    ue to the limited number of available information, the exact organization of the palace troops, as well as their specific functions and their importance during the late period of the empire, cannot be established with much certainty. Although we see them in many cases fighting on the battlefield, along with emperors like Theodore II, Andronikos III, John IV, and also guarding the capital as some Cretan Guards in the 1422 siege by Murad II and in 1453 siege by Mehmet II, we cannot assess the strength of the Palace guard units, because we know thing about their size. From a single reference by Kantakouzenos, we know that after the death of Andronikos III in 1341 a palace guard, composed of the Kantakouzenos’ Oikeioi and the Basilikoi, reaching 500 men was installed in the palace to protect the heir. Later it was reduced to its customary strength, meaning that the palace garrison usually had a size of 300-400 soldiers.


    From what we can gather, the units of the guard that still appear in our timeframe are the famous axe-bearing Varangians that have survived for more the 350 years, plus some other guard units that are much less known. These are the Paramonai guards who were equipped with swords and have regiments on foot and horseback, the Mourtatoi that were foot archers and came from mixed Turkish and Roman families, the Tzakones who were armed with clubs and wore distinctive blue surcoat with white lions, the Vardariotai that had police duties and were armed with a whip, and the Kortinarioi who served in the imperial tent and we know nothing of their weapons.

    In addition to these troops, some other special units were recruited for the much reduced imperial navy stationed in the capital. These included the Gasmouloi who came from mixed Latin and Roman families who were armed with crossbows, the aforementioned Tzakones and the Prosalentai. The first two groups were used as marines for the navy, and were settled mostly around Constantinople and in Thrace, while the latter were the rowers of the navy and were settled near the sea throughout the northern Aegean.

    1. Englinovarangoi (grk. Ενγκλινοβάραγγοι)
    (Other Names: Pelekyphoroi, Keltes, Varangoi)

    Russian and Scandinavian mercenaries had appeared in the army from the time of the first contacts between Russia and Byzantium in the 9th century, and the conversion of the Kievan State in 988 marked the beginning of the great age of the Varangians in Byzantium. By the early 11th century regiments of Varangians were firmly established as an important part of the campaign army. Soon afterward they began to appear as palace guards with the task of guarding the person of the emperor. Gradually, beginning in the second half of the 11th century, the Varangian guard lost its Scandinavian character as more and more Anglo-Saxons joined the regiment following the battle of Hastings. Perhaps be the end of the 12th century, certainly by the 13th, the Varangian guard was more or less entirely English in composition. According to Pseudo-Kodinos, they voiced their acclamations of the emperor in English. Thus, by the 13th century, the references to “Keltic Bodyguards”, “Keltic Garrisons”, and probably even “Kelts”, should be regarded as allusions to the Varangians. Their weapon was always the famous two-edged axe [pelekys] carried on the right shoulder. Since they were the only troops who ordinarily carried axes, the sources often refer to them obliquely as “the imperial axe-bearers” [pelekyphoroi], “the imperial axe-bearing regiment”, or the “Keltic axe-bearers”.

    The last references to the Varangians come from around the turn of the 15th century. In 1395 a “universal jidge” named Adam “from the Varangians” was visited at his home in Constantinople by a colleague who had come in search of a law book. Further, a pair of documents from 1400 (or al little later) speak of a certain “kyrios Simon from the most faithful Varangians”, whose deceased daughter had been married to a doctor in Constantinople. Finally, in the chronicle of a Western European, an Englishman named Adam of Usk, we read that in 1404, while visiting Rome, Adam had the opportunity to speak with some Byzantine ambassadors who told him that, in their lands there were men that hailed from England and carried axes, denoting the Varangians’ maintenance of their ethnic identity, their military role and their reputation.


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    2. Paramonai Pezoi (grk. Παραμοναί Πεζοί)


    The Paramonai (from the verb parameno [gr. Παραμένω] “to stand near someone or something”) are a division of palace guards, not in evidence before the second half of the thirteen century. According to Psedo-Kodinos, “in the court of the palace there are soldiers called Paramonai, having horses, over whom as commander, is an alligator. And after these, there are others, Paramonai as well, except without horses, having an allagator also, all bearing swords in their hands”. In Michael VIII’s 1272 Prostagma for his son Andronikos (the earliest securely dated reference to the Paramonai) and in the paraphrase of Niketas Choniates’ history, they appear side by side with the Varangians. But unlike the Varangians, the Paramonai were native troops. The archdeacon George Metochites, who spent most of his life in prison because of his religious beliefs, wrote of “two Tagmata in the palace, of which the name of those from our race was Paramonai, while those from a foreign and alien one were called Varangoi”.

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    3. Paramonai Hippeis (grk. Παραμοναί Ιππείς)


    The Paramonai (from the verb parameno [gr. Παραμένω] “to stand near someone or something”) are a division of palace guards, not in evidence before the second half of the thirteen century. According to Psedo-Kodinos, “in the court of the palace there are soldiers called Paramonai, having horses, over whom as commander, is an alligator. And after these, there are others, Paramonai as well, except without horses, having an allagator also, all bearing swords in their hands”. In Michael VIII’s 1272 Prostagma for his son Andronikos (the earliest securely dated reference to the Paramonai) and in the paraphrase of Niketas Choniates’ history, they appear side by side with the Varangians. But unlike the Varangians, the Paramonai were native troops. The archdeacon George Metochites, who spent most of his life in prison because of his religious beliefs, wrote of “two Tagmata in the palace, of which the name of those from our race was Paramonai, while those from a foreign and alien one were called Varangoi”.

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    4. Tzakones (grk. Τζάκωνες)
    (Other Names: Lakones)

    Michael VIII transplanted families from the Morea and possibly elsewhere to Constantinople and enrolled the men as soldiers in his new fleet. Pachymeres writes the Michael “had great need to settle the city with light armed soldiers, so he had many Lakones, arriving from Morea, settled as natives, distributing places near the city. Bestowing the yearly pay, he also supplied them with many other liberalities, and used them for many things inside and outside Constantinople, for they displayed worthy behavior in the wars”. These Lakones-Tzakones came to Constantinople in late 1261 or early 1962 and supplemented the Gasmouloi who had formed the first military contingents of Michael’s new fleet. Through the 1260s and 1270s the Tzakones, together with the Gasmouloi, formed the basic Roman marine forces. In the passage quoted above, Pachymeres calls the Lakones or Laconians, people from the southeastern Morea, around Mystra, whose name was by then corrupted to Tzakones.

    Michael VIII’s Tzakones (or Lakones) were those men whom he transplanted from the Morea, at first perhaps only from Monemvasia, later from other parts of Morea (these being ethnic Tzakones), and probably from elsewhere as well to serve as marines, light armed troops to guard the walls of the city, and
    even as a division of Palace guards. Although there no need to think that Michael’s Tzakones were exclusively recruited from the population of Lakonia, or even Morea, Pachymeres clearly thought that the majority of these men had come from the eastern Peloponnesos. Thus Michael’s Tzakones were Tzakones by occupation and, at least to some extent, Tzakones by ethnicity.

    The Tzakones while serving as bodyguards and as another palace guard division, were armed with clubs or cudgels ("apelatikia"), and wore distinctive sky-blue surcoats ("epano klivana ieranea"), adorned with two white lions face-to-face ("leontas istamenous leukous, orontas antikry kata prosopon") embroided on breast and back, and were commanded by a "Stratopedarches of the Tzakones".


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    5. Mourtatoi (grk. Μουρτάτοι)
    (Other Names: Myrtatoi)

    Psedo-Kodinos asserts that they fought on foot as archers (supported by the “Chronicon Tarvisinum”) and were commanded by the “Stratopedarches of the Mourtatoi”. The word “Mourtatoi" itself ought to derive from the Arabo-Turkish word “murtedd”, ”murtat” meaning “apostate” or “renegade” and it has generally been thought that the Mourtatoi were therefore Christianized Turks. However, a passage in the “Advice for and Overseas Passage” (a treatise written around 1330 by a Latin self-described “friar preacher” for the purpose of urging the King of France Philip VI of Valois (1328-50) to undertake a crusade) makes a slight revision of this view: “They are descendants of Turks by one parent and of Greeks by the other [...]so one can say of their origin that on one side they are of Satan and on the other of the Devil [...]”. Although there are Mourtatoi who were place guards, they are not exclusively serving in the imperial palace. It is a term widely given to these people, and this is the term that gives the palace guard regiment its name, and not vice versa. They are a specific type of soldier that are similar, though not identical to “Tourkopouloi”, regarding their ethnicity, and are also employed as soldiers by the crusader states of the eastern Mediterranean (Venice being one of them…). Because of their constant training and exercise, the Mourtatoi are quite skilled with the bow, and as such are employed by the Imperial Guard. Thus, they are also better protected than most archers.

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    6. Gasmouloi (grk. Γάσμουλοι)
    (Other Names: Basmouloi)

    The Gasmouloi, like the Thelematarioi, were a product of the interrelations of Romans and Latins. But unlike the Thelematarioi, the Gasmouloi were a product not of economic but of a conjugal relations and fraternization that had begun long before the Latin Conquest and continued long afterward. The origin of the word Gasmoulos (sing.) in uncertain, though some derivation based on the Latin mulus (mule) is quite possible. They are described in the “Advice for and Overseas Passage” where it is said that "they are called Gasmouloi who were begotten on their father’s side by a Greek and on their mother’s side by a Latin or on their father’s side by a Latin and mother’s side by a Greek. In faith they are fickle, in promise deceitful, in word mendacious, adroit in evil, ignorant of good, impudent to their betters, prone to discord, accustomed to plundering, inclined to savagery, adverse to piety, hungry for carnage and death, restless in everything, given to drink, incontinent without restrained, slaves to greed, gluttony and intemperance, loving no one biside themselves and what belongs to them. They present themselves as Greeks tο Greeks and as Latins to Latins, being all things to everyone, not to make a profit but to destroy”.

    The Gasmouloi were at first assigned to the fleet as mercenary soldiers, but apparently the need for soldiers to fortify and repopulate the capital and man the navy was such that Michael VIII soon had to look elsewhere and thus he also enrolled the Tzakones mentioned above. The Gasmouloi are most probably armed with a crossbow (or Latin bow as many Byzantines called it). Well trained through their service in the imperial Navy, they can be deadly at a distance. Though initially naval troops, the reduction of the navy by the later emperors and the desperate need to find more troops, they are now needed to fill a role in the army.


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    7. Siphonatores (grk. Σιφωνάτορες)

    (Other Names: Siphonarioi)

    One of the most exotic and devastating weapon in the traditional weapon was the “Greek fire” or, as they themselves called it “Υγρόν Πυρ” (liquid fire). Other names were the “Πυρ Ρωμαϊκόν” (Roman fire), the “Πολεμικόν Πυρ” (war fire), the “Πυρ Θαλάσσιον” (Sea fire) and the “Πυρ σκευαστόν” (Processed fire). In the late period there are numerous scattered references to various peoples using what is called “Greek fire”. It has been also used in the final siege of Constantinople in 1453. It was used one occasion as a defensive weapon for a ship arriving with grain. Turkish attempts to intercept it were beaten off using Greek fire. It was also very useful against siege towers. We are told that a German, reportedly named Johann Grand, directed the fire. He sprayed Greek fire on to an enormous siege machine, presumably a belfry lined inside and outside with three layers of ox hide. The machine had already helped bring down the tower of St. Romanus during the night, but the defenders repaired it very quickly, astounding the Sultan by their endeavors. Greek fire was also used when the Ottoman soldiers stormed the walls. Fire was poured down on to the unfortunate souls climbing up, and we are given a nightmare picture of the soldiers failing into the moat screaming with pain. Some soldiers were also using Greek fire in the ground, holding spears with Greek-fire soaked cloth on top, in order to prevent the invaders from pouring into through the wall gaps. The maces and the whips of guards beat more of these forlorn hope troops forward, while the Janissaries in the background cut down any who fled. Although the gunpowder was the decisive weapon by the 15th century, Greek-fire was not to be joked. If used properly, it could wreak havoc in the enemy lines, providing great help to the ones who used it. Greek fire, in the last centuries of the Empire was used in a limited manner because the Byzantines had not enough money to buy and use regularly the raw resources needed for its production, found in the Middle & Far East.

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    Last edited by SpyrosM91; January 25, 2014 at 09:10 PM.

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    Default Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire




    s the other factions of its time, the Roman Empire employed a high number of mercenaries, the most famous being the Catalan Grand Company (Katalanike Hetaireia). Evidence provided by contemporary Venetian archives shows that the defence of Venetian fortresses in Frankish Greece and in the Aegean Sea relied on small companies of mercenary soldiers who were mostly crossbowmen, as also did the Angevins in Albania. Similarly, it is logical to infer that the Romans employed more companies of both native and foreign soldiers, at a local level and at a central level, with the companies (Syntrophiai in greek) in the first occasion being much smaller. The vast majority of them were Xenoi (foreigners), but there were also Rhomaioi (Romans) such as the aforementioned Paramonai in the Imperial Guard.

    There were basically two types of mercenaries, the ones who were paid for a continuing service, such as the Varangians, and the ones who were supplemental and could be afterwards disbanded. The utility of the Misthophoroi in general was that they could remain under arms almost constantly, even in the winter, and they could be hired as need arose and dismissed afterwards (for the second category). Since the resources available to the emperors were always meager at best, only some mercenaries that are encountered in the sources were permanent employees of the emperor. The rest were only hired only where necessity or opportunity presented itself. Those mercenaries who did enter permanent imperial service performed several specific tasks aside from general campaign duty, like the palace guards, the garrisons of castles, including the Golden Gate Fortress.


    Apart from the Varangians who served as palace guards, the majority of the regular foreign mercenaries employed by the empire were Latins, meaning they hailed from regions such as Italy, Germany, France and Spain. These were the most numerous, strong and respectable and mercenaries. This was shown, for example, during the acclamation of John Kantakouzenos as emperor in 1341 in Didymoteichon, where assisting the new emperor with donning his imperial red boots, were his closest blood relatives and the most distinguished of his Latin mercenaries. Then, there were nomads and semi-nomad soldiers who joined the Hetaireiai system, such as the Alans who were given lands in Thrace, in exchange for their service, or Bulgars and Serbs who were seen fighting in battles with their own commanders. Also, despite the incidents with the Grand Catalan company, many Catalan soldiers continued to be employed throughout the Balkans, by Romans (as mentioned by Kantakouzenos himself), Serbs etc. Finally, many soldiers of Turkish or semi-turkish descent were employed, being either roman refugees from Asia Minor, or just muslims that found in the unstable background of the 14th century, a means of augmenting their income.

    1. Hetaireia ton Varangon (Varangian Company)


    1.1. Englinovarangoi (grk. Ενγλινοβάραγγοι)

    Already described above



    2. Katalanike Hetaireia (Catalan Company)

    Occasionally employed since the 1270s, the largest contingent of Katelanoi ever hired by the Byzantines was Roger de Flor’s Catalan “Grand Company” totaling perhaps 1500 cavalry, 4000 Almughavars and 1000 other infantry when it was hired in 1302. Unfortunately, the company’s successes prompted de Flor to arrogance and, eventually, to open hostility towards the emperor. Instructions to reduce the strength of his force to 3000 were ignored and so in 1305 the Byzantines had de Flor assassinated and dispersed the company by force. Even so, in 1307 one element re-entered Byzantine service. During the era civil wars (1321 -1357) due to the grave need for troops of all factions involved in them, Catalans were also enrolled in their services. Among them, a Catalan mercenary garrison which supported Kantakouzenos is noted in 1352 protecting the Golden Gate fortress in Constantinople. Because we are told that their commander Juan de Peralta had known Kantakouzenos since their days in Serbia years earlier, these mercenaries can probably identified as those mercenaries who left/were given by Dushan and joined Kantakouzenos in 1343, staying with him until the 1350s. The function of that garrison of Catalans was not only to defend the city if attacked by John V’s forces but to maintain Kantakouzenos’ control over the city.


    2.1. Almughavars
    (Other Names: Almogavaroi)

    Almughavars are the most famous units used by the Crown of Aragon. Originating from deep within the Pyrrenaic valleys of Aragon and Catalonia, it is no wonder these fierce fighting men are called Almughavar, literally meaning "devastator". Their lack of heavy armour allows them great agility in battle. Their cunning and audacity are second to none and their heavy javelins are thrown with such force that will pierce even the best of armour. Despite their light equipment, they have a fearsome reputation.Characteristic weapon of the Almogavaroi were a “coutell” (a spear long enough that it needed to be broken short for close combat) and between two and four javelins (azagaya), thrown with such “speed and violence” that they could kill an armoured man. So effective was this combination in an Almughavar’s experienced hands that on one occasion a single warrior brought down five armoured men, killing two with javelins and bringing down the horses of two more (one with a javelin, the other with his spear), while disabling the fifth with a throwing stone. Although the Catalans devestated the Empire not long ago, their skill as fighters did not go unnoticed, nor had their close proximity in Athens and Sicily. Wearing no armour and equipped in the classic Roman style with two javelins and a short stabbing sword, they could prove very useful to the Romans.

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    2.2. Almughavar Long Spearmen

    The Almughavars were farmers and shepherds originating from the countryside, woods and frontier mountain areas between the Chrsitian Kingdoms of Spain and the Moorish Kingdoms. They lived in the harshest conditions in the mountains where the land did not provide many resources for them. These men organised themselves into small bands of outlaws that which would penetrate deep into Moorish territory to gather supplies and live off the land. With time these shepherd communities forged a warrior spirit which was used in the fights of the Reconquista. They formed a numerous host with up to 15,000 Almoghavers being led by Pedro III of Aragon in his expedition to Tunisia and Sicily. After the War of the Sicilian Vespers a large number of them formed mercenary companies which enrolled in Guelph armies in Italy, in Byzantine armies in Anatolia or joined the Catalan Company. The Almoghaver spearmen used a long double handed spear as their main weapon in battle. Unlike other spearmen when fighting cavalry they actually targeted the horse forcing the rider to come crashing down and easily defeat him. Although they use the long spear and fight in a relative formation they are not as organised as the later pikemen and may break rank in the heat of battle. Due to the fact that they are less mobile compared to the skirmishers they use chainmail as protection.

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    2.3. Catalan Alforrats

    The alforrats were the light cavalry sergeants of the Aragonese armies simillar to their Castillian jinete counter-parts. The light horse tactics were introduced in the Iberian Peninsula when it was conquered by the Moors and they were adopted by the Aragonese during the Reconquista. The alforrats were developed in response to the mass cavalry of the Moors and were used by the armies of Aragon extensively throughout the Reconquista and beyond. The alforrats are more versatile then their jinete counter-parts having more armour such as leather, brigantines, chainmail and even heavier armour. They use small round shield for protection and use either lances or javelins as weapons. They can be used as light horse cavalry to harass enemy lines but also in more medium cavalry roles by supporting the heavy cavalry and facing enemy cavalry in the field. Alforrats can be found in Spain in the armies of the Kingdom of Aragon but also in Italy in Sicilian armies and in Romania in the armies of the Duchy of Athens or as mercenaries.

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    2.4. Catalan Knights

    The Catalan Knights of Aragon, known as the Cavalls Armats, are experienced heavily armoured knights that fight in similar style to their Frankish or other western knights. During the Reconquista of Spain the Catalan Knights were at the spear of the Christian offensive facing the armies of the Muslim Taifas. At the decisive battle of Puig in 1237 a handful of Catalan Knights supported by footmen defeated a large Muslim army and conquered Valencia for the Crown of Aragon. After the Aragonese established firm control in Iberia the armies of Aragon and the mercenary Catalan Company took part in the War of the Sicillian Vespers between 1282 and 1302. The Catalan Knights faced the armies of the Angevins in several battles and helped establish the Aragonese-ruled Kingdom of Trinacria in Sicily. After the wars in Sicily the Catalan Company moved into Greece and Asia Minor and the Catalan Knights supported by the lighter Almoghavers fought in alliance with the Byzantines against Turks and Crusaders. After being betrayed by the Byzantines the Catalans and Aragonese defeated them in battle and moved back into Greece. In 1310 at the Battle of Halmyros a small number of Catalan Knights and Almughavers defeated a Frankish heavily armoured chivalric host. The Catalan Knights can now be found in the armies of the Crown of Aragon, the Kingdom of Trinacria and in the service of the Catalan Company in the Duchy of Athens and Neopatria. Due to the mercenary element of the Catalan Company, as in the past, the knights may offer their services in exchange for high paying contracts in Romania and the Mediteranean.

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    3. Skythike Hetaireia (Skythian Company)

    First employed at the end of the11th century, Cumans constituted one of the most important elements of Byzantine armies until the 14th century, those in the central army being collectively referred to as the “Skythikon” (a term originally used to describe the army’s Patzinak troops). In 1241 John III settled perhaps as many as 10 000 as military colonists in Thrace and Anatolia, from where they were frequently mustered for campaigns in Europe, certainly up until 1292 and possibly later. They seem to have eventually become Hellenised, a Greek-speaking Cuman even becoming Megas Domestikos under Andronikos II. Cuman troops in Byzantine employ in the 1320s derived from an auxiliary contingent of 2000 men loaned by Stefan Uros II of Serbia to Michael IX (co-emperor 1294-1320) and never returned as being very useful, in the light of the imminent civil war between Andronikos II, and his grandson, Andronikos III. Despite the demand for their return, they were settled in Thrace, where, no doubt, their primary function was to serve as a defensive buffer between Roman Thrace and the Bulgarians and the Mongols to the North. In 1327 Andronikos, fearing that they were plotting with the Mongols, ordered them transplanted from Thrace to Lemnos, Thasos, and Lesbos. Apart from the Cumans who were the main contingent of the “Skythikon” Troops, other warriors included Alans (that the Byzantines employed as many as 16,000 in 1301, half of whom were warriors. After the Catalan incident and in 1306, while most of them sought employment in Bulgaria, some of them still stayed with the Byzantines), Bulgars (whose interactions with the Byzantines were very close), Serbs, Vlachs and perhaps even some Magyars.


    3.1. Skythikoi Hippotoxotai (grk. Σκυθικοί Ιπποτοξόται)

    The cavalry that formed the “Skythikon” was lightly armed and exclusively made up by horse archers. Hailing primarily from steppe people, these warriors, like their Turkish counterparts, are highly effective in battle and form an integral part of any field army. Armed with short recurved composite style bow (named “Skythikon” after them), usually with bone or horn tips, these troops can be deadly in any battle.

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    3.2. Skythikoi Toxotai (grk. Σκυθικοί Τοξόται)

    Although the majority of the troops that composed the “Skythikon” corps are on horseback, some of them (the less wealthy) fight on foot, mainly as archers. These mercenaries have light mail armour and a small shield, as well as a short sword and bow. Though they are no more effective than their Greek counterparts at range, they do have the ability to stand up for some time in melee combat if necessary.

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    4. Latinike Hetaireia (Latin Company)

    Divisions within the aristocracy, resulting especially from the civil wars and from the pennial controversies over the union of the Greek and Latin Churches, made the emperors more reliant on individual foreigners and foreign armies. Emperors surrounded themselves with foreigners, and foreign soldiers were an element basic to every late Byzantine army. One of the most important foreign contingents of the army was the Latin Company (Latinike Hetaireia) made up from Western Europeans and primarily from Italians, Germans, Catalans, Frenchmen and Spaniards. The Latins, as they were called in general, were an indispensable part of the army, and nothing better illustrates John Kantakouzenos’ awareness of this fact than the scene during his acclamation as emperor in Didymoteichon in 1341. Assisting the new emperor with ceremonially donning his dark red boots were his nearest blood relatives and the most distinguished of his Latin mercenaries.

    Despite previous times, the presence of mercenary Turks (probably Tourkopouloi), who seem to have played a pivotal role in the Morea campaign (in 1263), and the absence of Latin troops reflected a significant shift in the nature of the foreign troop contingents within the army. Although Michael’s reputed love for the soldiery certainly extended to the Latin mercenaries who had helped him to the throne, their importance as a campaign force actually declined during his reign. Michael VIII’s successor, Andronikos II, for his part, also preferred Turks and Cumans for his one major European expedition in 1292, and his latter recruitment of the Western Catalan Company indicates that there might not have been sufficient Latins on the scene available for military service. But then the byzantine civil wars came, which saw an increasing tendency to utilize of Serbs, Bulgarians, and especially Turks to wage both civil and foreign war. Also, during the civil wars, Latins again appeared as mercenaries in Byzantium, and were used by the opposing factions, primarily as heavy cavalry and were considered the elite soldiers of their day
    .


    4.1. Latinikoi Hippeis (gkr. Λατινικοί Ιππείς)

    When the technology will allow it, they will be heavily clad in new plate armour and armed with a lance, shield, and long sword, being both effective in offense and defense. Along with their heavily barded horses, the Latinikon Fossaton (the Latin Contingent, as they are called ) is the heaviest and most modern cavalry the Empire can field.

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    4.2. Latinikoi Pezoi (grk. Λατινικοί Πεζοί)

    While not as heavily clad as the rich nobility, these citizen and lower nobility mercenaries are still decked out in chain mail, cuirasses, a long sword, and smaller western style triangle shield. Due to their training and nature they are ideally suited for the offense, but may not stick around if things start to go bad.

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    4.3. Latinikoi Skopeutai (grk. Λατινικοί Σκοπευταί)

    The Roman Empire was rather slow to utilize firearms. The wartime use of firearms in Western Europe had begun in the second quarter of the 14th century, and by the middle of the century, the firearms were found in the cities if the Adriatic coast and in Hungary. Firearms could be found in Serbia by 1386 and by the end of the 14th or early 15th century in most of the cities of the eastern Adriatic all the way down to the Venetian possessions in the Morea. For the small arms, especially the musket, the Byzantine sources use the term “lead-thrower” (molybdobolon) or transliterations of the Italian “sclopo”, “schioppo” or “skopeta” (from “schioppetta”) (from the verb “to strike”) or “touphax”, from the Turkish “tufenk”, an early word for pipe-shaped fire weapons.

    These weapons along with other firearms were bought to the Romans via the Venetians and the Genoese. Furthermore, some Italian merchants recruited mercenaries from the Italian peninsula (mostly former naval crews and marines), in order to protect their economic interests in the cities of the Empire where they lived. These mercenaries often employed the latest weaponry they could buy, and they certainly knew how to use it. The newly developed handguns and harquebuses were no exception.


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    elow are some units that don't fit to all the above categories, these include the general's bodyguard, some various troops, or troops that are not part of the factional Rorster, like some auxiliary troops from neighbouring factions and realms plus mercenary troops from local regions, which are not presented or described in the current preview of the Roman Empire.

    1. Oikeioi (grk. Οικείοι)


    Great men, leaders, commanders and generals, most of them being members of the high aristocracy, when on campaign, they were accompanied in battle by their Οikeioi and their Οiketai. The Emperor had the greatest number of Οikeioi and Οiketai. They were called Anthropoi tou Vasileos (literally meaning “men of the Εmperor”). Oikeios refers to the “kith and kin”; the relatives and close friends of the great man. These are not “employees” of the leader, they are his companions probably drawn to him from his ability, as a “natural aristocrat” to attract a following. If he provided for them, it was out of familial or social obligation, though often they possessed their own financial resources. The Oiketai are their retainers and their servants distinctly subordinate to their leader. Generally their commander provided for them and they served him as either military retainers or domestic servants. Their livelihoods were in his hands. If they leader was a great man, the Oikeioi and Oiketai together constituted his retinue or entourage, and the position and duties of each oikeios and oiketes were well defined.

    Ηaving a very high level of social status, they can afford the best equipment available in the empire. They can even buy to their horses heavy plate iron barding for better protection. They are armoured with thick layers of chain mail, lamellar or scale cuirasses and padded armour, similar to the Cataphracts of old, making them the best and the heaviest cavalry available. When available, heavy plate armour can be imported from Italy specifically for them, in order to fulfill their demands for the latest and best technology in use. They use Western style lances for charge but they also use their favorite mace along with a heavy shield. They are the “logades” (elites) of the Roman corps and, defending their leaders to the last man, are not to be messed with. They are the last “wall” of defense against the enemy and, though slow and expensive, if used correctly it is certain that they will dominate the battlefield!


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    2. Tourkopouloi (grk. Τουρκόπουλοι)


    During the era of 1321 to 1357, the Empire gradually lost all her lands in Asia Minor. Consequently, waves of Anatolian refugees flooded Europe (and especially Thrace whose population grew significantly). Among these refugees, there were mixed greco-turkish families with warriors who could be enrolled in the “Persikoi Stratiotikoi Katalogoi” (Turkish Military Lists). Pachymeres records native men from the Anatolian byzantine provinces shaving their heads Turkish-fashion in order to join them. The extended interaction with the Turkish tribes which had consequences in the roman way of fighting, and their way of living, dressing and speaking.

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    3. Albanian Light Cavalry


    Known as Arbanites or Arbereshe the Albanian people organised themselves in various principalities in the Balkans and were led by ferocious chieftains. They were to be found in the armies of the Angevins of Naples which conquered Albania and deemed a kingdom in 1271 but also in the Morea, Epirus and other parts of the Western Balkans. The Albanian people were very divided with various groups owing their allegiance to certain chieftains, going as far as to aid foreign enemies against rival chieftains. Due to the harshness of the Albanian lands these men learned how to use the terrain to their advantage and adopted ambush style tactics. The Albanians were mostly light cavalry armed with sword or sabre and a lance or a 'zagaie' which was 10-12 feet in length with a blade at each end and was wielded overarm. They wore costumes with large brimmed hats and hanging sleeves. Popular clothing colours were scarlet (for the nobility), red, green and blue. These cavalryman used hit and run tactics harassing their opponents. The success of these cavalrymen against superior enemies such as the Ottomans led to the creation of the later stradiot companies.

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    (linked to posts, for reps)


    Hrobatos
    Miszel



    SpyrosM91

    The_Bulgar_Slayer
    Wallachian




    Contributors

    phoenix[illusion]
    Mattheus
    VINC.XXIII
    xxxMoravexxx

    Rusichi Total War
    M&B OSP mods
    Narf's Men-at-Arms Armour Pack
    Narf's Plate Armour Pack
    Narf's Transitional Armour Pack
    Arms and Armour
    Medieval helmet pack
    Rath0s OSP models
    Teutonic and Lithuanian items
    Absinthia
    CBUR and Ceasar Clivus



    As we have mentioned in our announcement back in November the work on the Tsardoms mod continues. This preview has been the fruit of many months of modding work and research. Work on other areas of the mod has been going on at the same time such as the map and other factions. However, modding is a hobby and real life has a tendency to hamper this. We have quite a large team however due to various real life reasons such as work, study, family some of our members aren't doing as much modding work as they would like to.

    This is the reason we have reduced the scope of our mod and aim for a reduced release starting with the battle only beta, followed by the reduced map and finally the full mod.

    We have always looked at the community for help and several new members have joined our team in the past year which has renewed our efforts. If you are interested in medieval and renaissance history, if you have 2D, coding, scripting, skinning and modelling skills and are interested in joining then contact any of our team members.



    PS. The skinning and modelling for the factions in the battle beta is close to being done (depending on which factions will make it in).
    What we really need now is help with the unit cards and especially important help with the unit stats.



    Last edited by Wallachian; January 28, 2014 at 05:06 AM.
    Proud Tsardoms Total War: Historian - Coder - Scripter - Mapper

  3. #3
    Wallachian's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Excellent work team!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Great job everyone

  5. #5
    Stath's's Avatar Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Just saw this and it is stunning!! Congrats everyone, your work is of the highest quality!!
    Just started to read, will not leave anything unread and unseen


    One tiny, tiny question, why did you pick "John" over "Ioannis", since you write all the other names as they were back then?


  6. #6
    Hrobatos's Avatar Tribunus
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    So awesome to see it finaly released! So much work went into this

  7. #7
    +Mr.Crow+'s Avatar VIVERE MILITARE EST
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Great work!
    BELLUM CRUCIS 7.0 Co-Director
    PERSONAL PROJECTS: CSUR || WARWAGON

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprian2 View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, you've done something that CA should have thought of a long time ago. You should be on their pay-roll!

  8. #8
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Can't wait to play this.
    Under the patronage of Squid Girl. I am here, click me!



  9. #9
    Miszel's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Almost year of the work. FINALLY ;D

    Can't wait to play this :3

  10. #10
    SpyrosM91's Avatar Despotes
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Stath's View Post

    One tiny, tiny question, why did you pick "John" over "Ioannis", since you write all the other names as they were back then?
    for the preview, we have kept the first names of the Characters in English (wherever possible) like John, Gregory etc, in order not to alienate too much the foreign speakers...
    and get them confused with this much information...


    in the game it's all original...
    Proud Tsardoms Total War: Historian - Coder - Scripter - Mapper

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Ty guys for all the work ! this is quality

  12. #12
    paradamed's Avatar Praepositus
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Woah, great preview!

  13. #13
    Nelduin's Avatar a.k.a ALG & echuu
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Best-looking units of all M2TW mods! Great work team, can't wait for the beta .

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Brings a Tear to my to see such awesome work, well done

  15. #15
    BarnicleBill1's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Wow these guys look amazing, I can't wait to play this now. The barding on the horses especially is awesome.

  16. #16
    Dusan Silni's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Great work

  17. #17

    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Great work. Many units and information together! i can't wait
    "War is the mother of everything."
    -Heraclitus, Greek philosopher (535-475BC)

  18. #18
    Ulidian's Avatar Foederatus
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Were the outfits and emblems as bright and colourful as we see here? And yes, press on! Can't wait!


    'The solipsist would say it is better to disregard the unreliable observations of alleged other people and rely upon the immediate certainty of one's own perceptions.'

  19. #19
    Ashton's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Ohhh man!! That's stunning!

  20. #20
    Miszel's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Tsardoms Total War - FACTION PREVIEW: Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulidian View Post
    Were the outfits and emblems as bright and colourful as we see here? And yes, press on! Can't wait!
    Yes, most of history was far more colourfull than our mental images of these times. Not only greek statues wernt white, but also middle ages werent all grim, cold, dark and dirty.

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