Macedonian units


Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.


Macedonian peltasts advance at speed to pepper an enemy with javelins, and then withdraw in good order before a counter-attack can be organised. They are skirmishers and it is their task to harass and disrupt enemy units before the main battle lines clash. They are also adept at staging tactical ambushes. Peltasts are equipped with a clutch of javelins, a sword and a light shield, the pelte, which gives them their name as 'pelte-bearers'. They wear no other armour, and rely on speed as the best form of protection, and this isn't much protection should they be caught by cavalry.

Militia Hoplite

The Greek equivalent of skirmishers, peltasts carry a bunch of javelins into battle. They are also armed with swords and shields, but their lack of armour makes them as weak at close quarters as most other ranged units. They are skilled at hiding and attacking from ambush, but should be drawn back as soon as an actual battle commences.

Levy Pikeman

Called into service and briefly trained, the Levy Pikemen was a basic unit for defense, not much more. He was better trained and equipped than the Militia Hioplite, but not by much. They carry swords for close combat, although their primary function is to create a wall of pike-points and "fix" the enemy in place while other units go on the offensive.

Phalanx Pikeman

More professional and with far more experience than their levied colleagues, Phalanx Pikemen are accordingly more effective as a unit, and provide good, solid phalanxes where Royal Pikemen are not available or required. They carry swords for close combat, although their primary function is to create a wall of pike-points and "fix" the enemy in place while other units go on the offensive.

Royal Pikemen

Often deployed in the position of honour in a pike line (usually at the right hand end) thanks to their superior status, Macedonian royal pikemen (or hypaspists) are disciplined troops drawn from the higher echelons of society. The tough royal pikemen carry the shorter hoplite thrusting spear, and are well protected with their large round 'argive'-pattern shields as well as leather armour. Other units can draw confidence from the presence of these proud warriors, which makes them a bulwark of many a Macedonian battle line. When close-quarter fighting starts they also carry short swords like other pikemen.


While peltasts threw the more lethal javelins, archers could shower an opposing warhost with light missiles from a lot farther away. Though less lethal than the javelineer, the archer was a necessary addition to most for armies (particularly, for example, in sieges). They were most often recruited from amongst the poorer sections of the society. They are not armoured and thus almost useless in hand-to-hand combat.

Light Lancers

Light lancers are fast, lightly equipped cavalrymen who rely on hit-and-run charges where the killing power of their lances are maximised. Although they have cavalry swords for close quarters fighting, a lack of armour means once the melee becomes protracted they are susceptible to enemy counterattacks: slugging it out with heavy forces is not sensible for these soldiers. Rather, these men should operate on the periphery of battles where they can ride down enemy skirmishers and missile troops. They can be thrown into to heart of the fighting if necessary, or when a weakened unit's flank or rear can be attacked.

Greek Cavalry

The Greek medium cavalry unit, these cavalry go to war without either shields or armour. They are therefore not very strong against other horsemen, and must also be used more for raids or attacks on ranged units. They are armed with spears. Greek cavalry, as compared to militia cavalry, was a more professional force, with better training and more experience.

Macedonian Cavalry

Macedonian cavalry are armoured spear-armed horsemen capable of delivering a decisive blow. They wear armour and carry swords but do not have shields, so they are not necessarily at their best in prolonged close combat. However, when used to repeatedly charge enemy units they can have a tremendous cumulative effect. The Macedonians have a fine tradition of horsemanship, unlike their southerly Greek neighbours, a legacy of having a large land-owning aristocracy who could afford to keep horses, unlike the farm-owning society of Greece that produced hoplites.

Companion Cavalry

Companion Cavalry are a social and military elite, and fight as heavy cavalry using shock and mass to break enemy units. They are the direct heirs to the Companions of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip of Macedon, and they revel in this proud heritage. The Companions ride the best horses and have the finest armour available; each is armed with a good lance and a sword for close combat. As heavy cavalry they can be a decisive arm of battle, and are able to charge down many opponents. They are best used as shock cavalry to break wavering enemy formations, but do need to be careful - as with all cavalry - when attacking spearmen. Bravery is of little use when galloping straight onto a row of gleaming spear points! Traditionally these men would be given land grants after great victories, giving them a personal stake in the battle's outcome.

General's Guard

A bodyguard was, historically speaking, a functional unit, rather than a type of soldier. In the game, however, they are spear-armed shock cavalry, whose success or failure depends to a large extent on the personal characteristics of the general who they are guarding - his effect on their morale, for example, or on their discipline, will play a large role in determining how they fight. They are in all cases excellent troops.


A Ballista is a sinew-powered weapon that looks like an enormous crossbow. It has tremendous range and can skewer files of men with a single bolt! While a Ballista might look like a huge crossbow, its working principles are rather different. The two arms are pushed through ropes made of tough animal sinew. This naturally elastic material is then twisted, and becomes a hugely powerful spring, pulling each arm forwards. The arms are pulled back, creating even more tension, the Ballista is loaded with a missile, and then this is shot at the enemy with considerable force. Providing care is taken to make sure that the two sinew bundles are under the same tension, the Ballista is a very accurate weapon, but because sinew is sensitive to damp a Ballista does not work well in wet weather.


An onager, unlike a ballista, worked similarly to a catapult. These machines could be used to hurl projectiles up to half a mile (with the larger versions). The Roman used them in many different ways: large boulders were flung at walls to help bring them down; many smaller rocks were used against enemy troops as a sort of shrapnel; various burning projectiles were used to try and spread fire; and diseased animal carcasses were flung into the enemy-held city to spread disease.

Heavy Onagers

The heavy onager is an enormous catapult built using the same basic design as its smaller sibling and capable of smashing down stone fortifications. It is powered by a twisted bundle of animal sinew ropes, and is slow to wind back and reload. Its missiles are devastating, and it can also fire incendiary firepots. Range is no more than the smaller onager and this makes the heavy onager susceptible to counter fire. Often, it is best employed alongside smaller artillery to deal with enemy fire.