I’ve posted an Armenians concept twice on here before, but the last time was a year ago, I’ve made some changes, and many believe that a Caucasus DLC is incoming, so I figured now was a good time to post it.
The Armenians mainly represent the Bagratid Dynasty, but also represent Cilician Armenia, Zakarid Armenia, and others. They have Caucasus architecture, shared with the Alans and Georgians. The Armenians’ Wonder is the Cathedral of Ani, but restored.
Unlike their neighbor the Georgians, who have a more defensive, late-game style, the Armenians are much more focused on early game aggression. This reflects their medieval history where they were only independent, in the form of the Bagratid Dynasty, from the 800s to the mid-1000s. After that, they were under the control of other kingdoms and empires, and this is represented by them having fewer options as the game progresses, requiring a good Armenian player to be aggressive early on.
Moving on to the civ bonuses now:
- Town Centers generate a slow trickle of food and wood (0.1/s in Dark, 0.25 in Feudal, 0.5 in Castle, 0.75 in Imperial Age)
This represents the fact that the Armenians started off the Middle Ages as subjects of the Persian Empire, but became independent starting in the 800s, roughly corresponding to the Feudal Age when the bonus gets much stronger. The bonus originally only started in the Feudal Age, but someone suggested it as a bonus also starting in the Dark Age so the early economy is boosted as well.
- Stable units +1 attack in Feudal, +1 in Castle (for +2 total)
According to fairly dubious Wikipedia sources, Armenian cavalry was some of the strongest of the day. Even if you don’t believe that, which is understandable, Armenia is rich in iron, and thus its medieval armies would be well-equipped.
- Monks +1 conversion range in Castle, +1 in Imperial Age (for +2 total)
Armenia was the first country in the world to make Christianity its state religion, and it still retained such a religious zeal in the Middle Ages. Many churches were built across Armenia.
- Siege Engineers available in Castle Age
This is a reference to Armenian siegecraft being top of the line, to the point that after it was subjugated again, other powers hired Armenian siege engineers to build siege engines for them.
- Team bonus: Baptistery available in the Castle Age
I’ll talk more about the Baptistery later. This bonus references how baptism was hugely important in Armenian society.
Unique Unit: Aspet
The Aspet is a heavy cavalry unit that has a bonus against other cavalry units (5, 10 against normal cavalry, 4, 8 against camels, and 10 against elephants for Elite). Unlike camels and pikes, it is able to hold its own in melee combat, just like a knight. It has 100 HP (125 for Elite), 10 attack (12 for Elite), and 2/0 armor (3/1 for Elite). This makes the Aspet very susceptible to archers, unlike knights. It also has -2 cavalry armor, so it takes a little extra bonus damage from its counters, while dealing bonus damage to camels in return.
The term aspet (lit: “knight”) was used for Armenian nobility during the Bagratid Dynasty. The position was hereditary, as was the case with all nobility back then. The term comes from an Old Persian word aspapati, or aspbed, which was a type of military commander. The aspets ended up giving their name to the House of Aspahbad, as well as the Byzantine noble family the Aspietai.
The Bagratid cavalry force was widely considered to be the best of its day, being well-equipped and highly trained. Accounts tell of Armenian cavalry that used maces or morning stars to easily knock a rider off his horse. Some later accounts claimed that such weapons were thrown, but it is believed to be a misunderstanding during oral retellings and a confusion of the word for “mace” with another word referring to a type of Iranian javelin.
Unique Building: Baptistery
This is a building that costs 125 wood and 100 stone. It constantly heals units within its 8 range, which is square-shaped like the Caravanserai. Notably, it’s available to allies, which gives the Armenians great synergy with civs that have expensive units that need to stay alive. The Baptistery allows for mass healing at less individual speed than a monk, but in a much more efficient and convenient manner.
In Christian societies, baptisteries were typically where baptisms were performed. They were often separate buildings, but could also be part of a larger church. Churches without baptisteries of their own often used the baptisteries of a larger church.
Baptism is an important element of Armenian culture, being considered a rite of passage for adults.
Baptism: Baptisteries +2 healing range
Cost: 250 food, 175 gold
This technology gives the Baptistery the same healing range as the Caravanserai. Notably, since it only applies to the Armenians, if one is to build a lot of Baptisteries with an Armenian ally, they should probably ask the Armenian player to do it, since they will provide more coverage. This technology makes Baptisteries even better than they normally would be, since they can heal drastically more units than they could otherwise.
The precursor of baptism is widely believed to be a Jewish purification ritual known as tvilah. One of the two forms of tvilah involves full-body immersion, which is very similar to the immersion form of baptism. Other Jewish sects appear to have engaged in rituals similar to baptism as well.
The first recorded proper Christian baptism is widely accepted to be the baptism of Jesus at the hands of John the Baptist, thus establishing it as a sacrament for the Christian faith. The early church would continue this tradition, with some engaging in immersion baptism and others affusion baptism. In later church history, entire sects would form over this inconsistency, as well as the issues of believers’ baptism versus the baptism of infants. Baptism continues to be practiced in a variety of ways by various denominations and sects.
Baptism holds an especially important role in Armenian culture, as it essentially functions as a rite of passage for every adult Armenian believer. It may only be performed once, provided the ceremony has been performed properly, and the entire family is typically present.
Nakharar: Scorpions and Trebuchets have no minimum range
Cost: 800 food, 500 gold
This technology provides the only power spike to siege units in Imperial Age. Removing the minimum range of Scorpions seems situational, but it actually eliminates their biggest weakness, since they are weak to melee units. Although they are still fragile and are destroyed easily, they can at least fire back at melee targets. This tech makes the Armenians one of the best Scorpion civs, along with the Romans and Khmer, and massing only Scorpions with no protection is a viable strategy, which would be deadly for basically everyone else.
The effect on Trebuchets is much less useful and is considerably more gimmicky. It is mainly present to reference the historical justification for the tech to begin with. However, minimum range-less Trebuchets can at least drop rocks on individual units that attack them, though the projectiles move slowly and are easy to dodge.
The origins of nakharars date back to pagan Armenia, where they seemed to be some kind of pseudo-nobility class. This designation carried over to the Middle Ages, even after Armenia’s conversion to Christianity. Nakharars were expected to raise their own armies, some of which included mountaineers trained to roll rocks on enemy soldiers from cliffs above.
Missing Units: Halberdier, Eagle line, Elephant Archer line, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Hussar, Camel line, Battle Elephant line, Steppe Lancer line, Armored Elephant, Heavy Demolition Ship, Elite Cannon Galleon.
Missing Techs: Gambesons, Parthian Tactics, Redemption, Herbal Medicine, Illumination, Theocracy, Ring Archer Armor, Blast Furnace, Bracer, Keep, Bombard Tower, Crop Rotation, Stone Shaft Mining.