|This article is about the Roman civilization in Age of Empires II. For the Romans in Age of Empires, see Roman Empire.|
The Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire is an Eastern European civilization in Age of Empires II situated in the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor, along the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean in the modern countries such as Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. In Attila the Hun's campaign, they represent the Western Roman Empire. Only classified as a defensive civilization ingame, they are in reality a jack-of-all-trades, relying on a wide variety of units of all categories for offense and defense.
As the medieval stage of the Roman Empire—though speaking Greek rather than Latin—they retain characteristics of their Rise of Rome Roman (Roman and Palmyran) counterparts and Persian neighbors, such as their unique unit, the Cataphract, a type of heavy cavalry that happened to be present in the original game. The Cataphract is one of the few true counter units to infantry. However, it is slightly weaker than Knights. Their Imperial Age unique technology is Logistica, referring to the Byzantines' strong military tactics which grants their Cataphracts trample damage to attack multiple enemies at once. The Byzantines had a head start over their European neighbors and arguably reached their zenith while the rest of Europe were in the Dark Age. As a result, they pay less to advance to the Imperial Age.
Constantinople operated as the center of a trading network that extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa, in particular as the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. So the Byzantine Empire's economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, could not match Byzantines' economic strength until late in the Middle Ages. That is reflected upon in the game with the Byzantines having access to all economic (Lumber camp, Mill and Mining Camp) upgrades.
The Byzantines were best known for having deflected many invasions implemented by barbarians, Slavs and Arabs, and the famed doubled walls that surrounded their capital of Constantinople almost stood for over a millennium until overran by Ottoman Turks. To reflect this achievement, the Byzantines attain a theme of a defensive civilization and have tougher buildings as the age progresses. Due to carrying on many of the traditions of Rome such as their naval prowess and being the inventors of Greek fire, an ancient napalm rumored to be able to ignite even on water, their Fire Ship attack faster and their Castle Age unique technology is Greek Fire, granting Fire Ships +1 Range. As a defensive civilization, they also get cheaper counter units and Town Watch upgrades for free. Being the bastion of Greek Orthodoxy, their Monks heal faster to keep with their defensive theme.
The Byzantines have access to a vast variety of technologies. This makes them unpredictable to play against in multiplayer games. Their bonuses grant them advantages for Camels, Heavy Camels, Spearmen/Pikemen/Halberdiers, Skirmisher and Elite Skirmisher and a team bonus for their Monks. In addition, their unique unit, the Cataphract is a heavy cavalry unit which deals bonus damage towards infantry. Thus, Byzantines are likely to go for cavalry and anti-cavalry, but again, their access to the almost full technology tree make them unpredictable to play as and against. However, they are missing the Siege Onager and the Heavy Scorpion upgrades in their Siege Workshop. They are known to have the strongest buildings in the game, with buildings gaining 10% HP in Dark Age, 20% in Feudal Age, 30% in Castle Age and 40% in Imperial Age, negating that they cannot research either Masonry or Architecture.
Civilization Bonuses Edit
Campaign EditThe Byzantines played very important roles in various scenarios, being the main focus point of various campaigns, most notably, Attila the Hun. In The Age of Kings, they had almost near-constant appearances in the Saladin and Barbarossa campaigns, representing the city of Jerusalem in both campaigns, and representing the crusader city of Tyre in the fifth scenario (Jihad!) of the Saladin campaign, and the Italian city of Venice in the fourth scenario (The Lombard League) of Barbarossa's campaign and Byzantine capital Constantinople in fifth scenario, as well as the weak fort of Gallipoli.
They came to even more attention in The Conquerors expansion, as the Western Roman Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, and reprising the appearance of Constantinople in the Attila the Hun campaign, as well as the Roman cities of Adrianople, Thessalonica and Philippolis.
In The Forgotten, they make a minor appearance in the Alaric campaign, and they finally become a playable faction in the Bari campaign, representing the Nautikos family. There are also a few other Byzantine factions in the said campaign.
Saladin campaign Edit
Barbarossa campaign Edit
Attila the Hun campaign Edit
Alaric campaign Edit
Bari campaign Edit
In-game dialogue language (Medieval Latin) Edit
Medieval Latin isn't pronounced as Romans spoke it (rolled r, French gn, Italian c) and many misspellings appear, as for 'hunter'. Moreover, the Byzantines spoke Greek for the larger part of their history, considering their existence during Middle Ages, Latin being kept only in some fields such as administration.
Civilization name Edit
Historically, they referred to their empire as the "Roman Empire" or "Romania" and to themselves as "Romans", due to them being the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire, and were known as "Greeks" in Western Europe due to the language they spoke. Both the terms "Byzantines" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms to refer to the empire, after its fall  (In the 16th century because of the invasions of the Ottoman Turks). So the usage of the name "Byzantines" is historically inaccurate in the game.