Faction Overview: Eastern Roman Empire

Ave, Augustus! We are the Romans- the truest of Romans, undiluted by barbarian blood, untainted by widescale revolt, and blessed by God with unimaginable riches, solstice, and power. We watch from our gilded thrones at Constantinople as our Western cousins are ripped apart by torrents of rabid barbarian beasts, and petty struggles for waning power. However, Augustus, we are not without our own problems. First and foremost, our eastern provinces are threatened by the beastly Zoroastrian Sassanids- the newest incarnation of one of our oldest enemies. Our Roman ancestors gallantly fought them at Carrhae and Meshike but were mercilessly slaughtered- our vengeance was played out as Carus sacked their capital at Ctesiphon; even so, these comparatively golden days are over- as soon as Constantine's corpse was cold, we once more fell into disarray, and the Persians once more became a threat. To the north, we have word of a number of Barbarian tribes planning to settle in our lands, by name of the Gothi and the Hunni, enemies we have already fruitlessly attempted to oust from their dangerous zone of proximity.

But Emperor, we are not afraid. We have many times defeated the spectrum of enemies who envy all we Romans have done, who they looted, destroyed, and slaughtered, but we still remained firm, and prevailed. I am sure, Emperor, that this same pattern will appear once more, as it has done so many times previously. If even the bedraggled western imperial husk can still procreate life, then we will last for eternity!

The Lands

Although our lands are fewer, they are by far richer, both by land and sea trade- and to show this, our military garments are dyed the imperial purple! From our rich and prosperous lands we can wring this symbol of greatness, and still be richer than all the great powers of the west put together! Our westernmost settlement, on the border with the ravenous Iazyges tribe, is Sirmium, a well fortified city with Stone Walls, Barracks, Stables, Farms, a Market, Baths, Paved Roads and a Temple to Mithras. I believe, sir, that this ungodly pagan temple should be knocked down, as the majority of Christians in this settlement are causing unrest, so build in its place a Christian Shrine. Stationed here is your second son, Luca Flavius- he is the empire's magister militum, the overall commander of our armed forces under you, Augustus. He stands to become Caesar once you die, and your eldest becomes Augustus. Along with him at Sirmium is one unit of Peasant and two of Limantei.

In Macedonia is the city of Thessalonica, with Stone Walls, Stables, Farms, Roads, Arena, and a Temple to Mithras. I believe that the same applies here-one should knock down this monstrosity and rebuild a Christian shrine in its place. One of your generals, and your amicus principis, Julianus Flavius, is stationed here, along with one unit of Equites Auxilia, one of Legio Lanciarii and one of Eastern Archers. Further south is Athens, with a Large Stone Wall, Stables, a Market, a Shipwright, Public Baths, Farms, Paved Roads, a Scriptorium, an Arena (that continues to show barbaric games as the settlement's prime religion is still pagan), and a Temple to Mithras. Again, this settlement needs to be made Christian to keep its stability. Stationed here is your comes domesticorum equitum, your leader of your household cavalry- Gnaeus Flavius. He has a garrison of two units of Limitanei and one of Eastern Archer. East of Athens, in the Aegean Sea, is Admiral Dalmatius with two Trireme warships. The Aegean needs to be protected from pirates to keep our lucrative sea trade from dying, or being assimilated into unclean hands.

On Crete we have Kydonia, a large town with Wooden Walls, a Shrine to Sol Invictus, and basic Farms. Here is our primary source of purple dye, among other things. Stationed here is your magister peditum, your master of infantry, Honorius Flavius. I belive this man has potential as a genearl; I propose he be moved to the Gothic frontier. Kydonia is happy as a pagan settlement, I do not suggest destroying their shrine. At Ionia we have Ephesus, a city with a Christian Church, Baths, Roads, Barracks and a Stone Wall. Here is stationed Syagrius Flavius and one unit of Peasant, two of Limitanei, and one of Legio Lanciarii. By Ephesus we are in possession of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which will greatly assist in the building of our more ambitious religious building projects.

Our capital at Constantinople exists as the greatest city in the known world, only matched by the waning Rome. It has all the best of the imperial buildings, and within years will be able to produce a great army with which we can use to fend off Gothic attacks. I, however, must dissuade you from meeting them at Adrianople; I suggest a war of attrition. Stationed at Constantionple is your bodyguard, Valens Flavius, all-powerful Augustus, and your elite Scholae Palatinae cavalry, along with one unit of Comitatenses and one of Eastern Archers. South-west of Constatinople, on the Dardanelles, is Admiral Heraclianus, with one Quinquireme and one Trireme, and east-north-east is Admiral Avitus with two Quinquireme and one Trireme. North-west is our diplomat, Bacurius Donatus, who will assist in our defence against the Goths, as will the two armies stationed along the frontier; one under Manius Flavius with two Comitatenses units, one Eastern Archer unit, and three Limitanei units, and one under Captain Asinius, with two Comitatenses units, one Eastern Archer unit and four Limitanei units. I suggest the amalgamation of the two armies for an attack into the Gothic heartland in Dacia.

In Galatia is the city of Ancyra, with Barracks, a Stone Wall, a Market, Sewers, Farms, Paved Roads, an Arena, and a Temple to Mithras. The settlement is unhappy under pagan hegemony; I suggest the destruction of the pagan temple for Christian Shrine. Here is stationed your magister scrinii, your master of the secretariat, along with two units of Limitanei, one of Legio Lanciarii and one of Hippo-Toxotai. North-east of Ephesus is Sinope, in Pontus, with a Stone Wall, a Practice Range, Communal Farming, Paved Roads and a Temple to Sol Invictus. They are also heavily disillusioned by pagan hegemony, sir. Stationed there is one unit of Peasant, one of Hippo-Toxotai, and one of Limitanei. North-north-east is the fleet of Admiral Constans of one Quinquireme. East-north-east is the army of Captain Aulus, with one unit of Peasant, one of Hippo-Toxotai and one of Limitanei, who stand to reinforce Kotais, who plan to defect to us if they rebel under Sassanid rule, who are currently planning to take Kotais and the surrounding Colchis.

South of Sinope is Caesarea, a similar city but further advanced, and under Christian hegemony (content by it). Stationed here is Numerius Flavius, along with one unit of Limitanei, Peasant, and Hippo-Toxotai. East of Caesarea is another of our diplomats- Leontius Calvinus. Further south is Tarsus, a large town with a Christian Chapel, a Wooden Wall, Sewers, and Paved Roads. Here is stationed Equitius Flavius, your magister officiorum, your master of offices, along with one unit of Hippo-Toxotai, two of Legio Lanciarii, three of Limitanei and one of Eastern Archers. I suggest moving the bulk of this large garrison to assist in the attack against Sassanid Persia, which I suggest should come from Antioch, a huge city east of Tarsus. It is very well advanced, content, and has a good strategic importance. Here is situated your son, Theodosius, your Caesar and your comes dispositanium, your head of the imperial itinerary. Alongside him is two units of Comitatenses, one of Eastern Archers, and three of Limitanei. East of Antioch is Telemachus Acilius, the faction Assassin.

On Cyprus we own the large town of Salamis, with basic Farms, a Wooden Wall, Roads, and a Shrine to Sol Invictus. Again, they are unhappy under pagan hegemony. It has a garrison of one unit of Hippo-Toxotai, two of Limitanei, and one of Legio Lanciarii. East of Salamis is Admiral Illus, with one Trireme and one Bireme. On the mainland Phoenicia is the city of Sidon under Gainus Flavius, with a Stone Wall, a Market, Farms, Baths, Paved Roads, an Arena and a Church. Stationed there is one unit of Hippo-Toxotai and two of Limitanei. South of Sidon, in Judaea, is the large city of Jerusalem- seat of the Jewish faith, a number of whom are causing a little discontent in the city- under Christian hegemony. It is well advanced, and protected by the garrison of Crispus Flavius and his unit of Limitanei, Peasant, and Eastern Archers. South of Jerusalem is the diplomat, Valerius Atilius. Further south is the large town of Philadelphaea, with Wooden Walls, Barracks, a Trader, Sewers, Farms, Paved Roads, and a Shrine to Sol Invictus; yet again, unhappy under pagan hegemony. Stationed there is Vibius Flavius, and two units of Comitatenses, one of Eastern Archers, and three of Limitanei. I suggest again that the bulk of the garrison be sent to aid in the conquest of Persia, and a smaller squadron be sent to assist Crispus Flavius in pacifying the dissenting Nabataeans.

In Aegyptus is the huge city of Alexandria, again, among the most advanced cities in our empire. Stationed there is Avitus Flavius, along with a small garrison. East of the city is our spy, Marcus Naevius, and north-west is Admiral Olybrius with two Biremes and one Trireme. Our final settlement, in Cyrenaica, is Cyrene, under Decentius Flavius, with a Port, a Wooden Wall, Farms, Paved Roads, and a Temple to Sol Invictus. Again, they are unhappy under pagan hegemony. To keep order is a garrison of two units of Limitanei, and one of Eastern Archers.

These are our lands, emperor. Know them well, and we shall prosper.

The Warhost

Our army remains strong, Augustus, whilst our western cousins' army is weak, and tainted. From our Barracks come the Limitanei- basic spear armed troops with javelins that are ideal defence troops. An improvement on the Limitanei are the Legio Lanciarii, from more advanced Barracks- they fight as Limitanei, but are better trained and armored. From our city Barracks come our prime field troops, the Comitatenses, that fight similarly to their predecessor Legionary Cohorts. They are, however, more lightly armoured for mobility in capping breaches in the frontier, but still fight as heavy infantry. An improvement of the Comitatenses are the Plumbatarii, who instead of basic javelins (that replaced the pilum), are armed with a clutch of the plumbatae, steel darts that cause far more damage than the basic javelin. From our Urban Barracks come the Comitatenses First Cohort, who carry the legion aquila.

Our cavalry far exceeds that of our western cousins. In fact, Augustus, the Eastern Roman Empire has some of the best cavalry around at this time, with our equestrian roster both diverse and individually effective. Our most basic cavalry are the Equites Auxilia; light, mobile cavalry that are better equipped to fight off skirmishers or to pursue fleeing enemies. Although they do wear armor as a vest of the lorcia hamata, they should not be expected to last long in hand-to-hand combat. In regions where camels are available, we can recruit the Dromedarii- light raiders who ride camels. They are also armored to an extent, and have similar abilities to the Equites Auxilia, but are far more effective against other cavalry. From our more advanced stables come the Hippo-Toxotai, light horse archers who were also trained as light cavalry, like their western cousins, the Equites Sagitarii, making them some of the most versatile cavalry; a definite boon to an Eastern Roman commander. From our best stables come the Equites Cataphracti and Equites Cilbinarii, both operating as excellent heavily armored cavalry; the latter more armored than the former. The Cataphracti are spear armed cavalry, whose horses are covered in a mail veil, and the riders are fully clad in lorcia squamata- scale-mail, and also wear a good helmet and a shield. The Cibinarii carry maces, and their riders are armored even more then their Cataphract cousins, but otherwise operate the same. Our imperial guard, the Scholae Palatinae, are more lightly armed and armored than the Cataphracti or Cilbinarii, but therefore are more mobile; a perfect balance. Your bodyguards, the Imperial Household Bodyguard, are the elite of the Scholae Palatinae.

From our Practice Ranges come Archers armed with the basic self-bow, and from our Archery Ranges come the Eastern Archers (who are not ideally suited to fighting in bad weather, due to the construction of their, though far more effective, composite bows). From further stages of Ranges come the Ballistae, Repeating Ballistae, Onagers, and the Heavy Onagers. The latest leap forward in military technology comes in the form of the Carriage Ballistae- chariot-mounted Ballistae. They are unable to scathe buildings, but they are excellent for wearing down infantry or heavy cavalry who cannot hope to catch them. From our Hermitages come the Orthodox Priests, whose chants propel our soldiers to greater glory. Thus, as you can see, Augustus, our armies have the potential to be the most effective in the known world. Although a number of powers could match or even exceed one of our military castes, our overall power, they shall never overcome. Augustus, you must use our armies to the best of their abilities- to keep our empire in place, and possibly far more...

Usurper Under the Bed

Although this would apply to the Western Empire, we are not without the same faults. If one of our cities revolts, for whatever reason, then there is a chance that it will fall to the conventional Rebels, but the most likely outcome is that it will become the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire Rebels- they have the same unit roster and cultures we do; their only difference is that they wish to put themselves on our imperial throne. If a family member was present at the revolting settlement then his loyalty will dictate whether he will join the usurpers. All generals start with four loyalty rings; various traits and retinue pieces can add or take away the loyalty. The lower the loyalty, the higher the chance that he will join the usurpers and vice-versa. The usurper faction can only be destroyed once it has all its existing settlements taken and its parent faction (us) destroyed. If they outlast us, Augustus, then they will be officially recognized by the West as the legitimate owners of the Eastern throne.

The Matter of Religion

We have forsaken the old gods in favor of three religious cults- one of Christianity, one of the Unconquerable Sun, and one of Mithras. The Christian belief system gives us happiness, growth, and law bonuses; the Sol Invictus belief system gives us large happiness and law bonuses; the Mithras belief system gives us small happiness and law bonuses along with experience bonuses for troops. While we can build five stages of Christian religious building, from Shrine to Basilica, along with a further three stages by Hermitage, Monastery and Abbey, we can no longer build the Pantheon for our pagan brothers, as we do not publicly revere a pantheon of gods any more.

As far as we know, Sol Invictus is the only remaining part of the old Greco-Roman paganism we revered in the golden days; he is the successor to Apollo. However, some of our theologians believe that he is the transplanted form of an old Syrian sun-god, of the same ilk that ex-emperor Elagabalus worshiped, by the same name. Since then it has been revered well amongst all aspects of Roman society as a fleeting glimpse of the olden days. It is slowly losing popularity in favor of Christianity.

However, the cult of Mithras is gaining steam. Soldiers in the Roman Army have revered the cult centered on Mithras for centuries now. Few have an idea of the origins of Mithras, but most theologians agree that it originated from a part of Anatolia, more specifically Cicilia, Cappadocia or Amazonia. All religious buildings offer a conversion rate, as do characters in the region, whether that may be a general (further assisted by religious retinue or traits) or an agent. In this case, practitioners of a religion that isn't the hegemony will cause unrest, but they can be converted. Religion is a powerful tool, Augustus, make good use of it.

We are the only true Romans, Augustus. We shall reconquer those turgid barbarians in the west; those ravenous nomads in the north; those insane desert-dwellers in the east- and once more, we shall have a unified Rome!