|This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II. For the civilization in Age of Empires, see Romans.|
The Byzantines (or Eastern Roman Empire) are an Eastern European civilization in Age of Empires II. They are 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 the Attila the Hun campaign, they represent the Western Roman Empire. Only classified as a defensive civilization in-game, they are in practice a very versatile civilization, relying on a wide variety of units of all categories for both offense and defense.
As the medieval stage of the Roman Empire 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 also be present in the original game. 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 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. Standing out are their excellent navy, Monks, and economy, with only a single technology missing (Herbal Medicine) in all three branches put together but with handy perks like Greek Fire and an increased healing speed for Monks. Weak spots in the Byzantine technology tree are hard to make out, but as their lacks in the defenses department (namely Masonry and Architecture) are compensated by a staggering HP bonus for buildings, they are probably best found in their land armies. Their foot archers are excellent, but their Cavalry Archers miss key technologies in Parthian Tactics and Bloodlines. The latter also hurts their cavalry (probably their weakest branch despite having an excellent unique unit there) as well as the missing Blast Furnace which then again does their infantry no favor as well. Working against these disadvantages are their discounts for Camels and Pikemen. Lastly, they lack Siege Engineers, Siege Onagers, and Heavy Scorpions, making their siege department fairly average.
All together, due to their wide technology tree and wide array of bonuses, the Byzantines are hard to anticipate in multiplayer games.
Campaign appearances Edit
The Byzantines feature in a notable amount of campaigns, but have no campaign on their own. They feature frequently in the Saladin, Barbarossa, and Attila the Hun campaigns, and make a few other appearances, e.g. in Bari or Alaric.
Unique unit Edit
Unique technologies Edit
Civilization bonuses Edit
Team bonus Edit
The Age of Kings Edit
The Conquerors Edit
The Forgotten Edit
The African Kingdoms Edit
In-game dialogue language Edit
In-game, Byzantine units speak medieval Latin.
AI player names Edit
Medieval Latin is not 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 the Middle Ages, Latin having been kept only in some fields such as administration.
Civilization name Edit
Historically, they referred to their empire as the "Roman Empire" or "Romania" and likewise considered themselves as "Romans", due to them being the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire. However, they were known as the "Greeks" in Western Europe due to the language they spoke. Both the terms "Byzantines" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms that refer to the empire, after its fall (in the 15th century because of the invasions of the Ottoman Turks). So the usage of the name "Byzantines" is historically inaccurate in the game.
Video overview Edit