The Byzantine Empire Speculation

Maybe one of the most anticipated civilization for the game, that one that saw the middle ages begin and end, the legacy of ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire. The eastern roman empire is an unique contender for a future DLC, so lets have some fun speculating about it:

After the fall of western empire, the future called byzantine becomes the last remaining of ancient knowledge and developed formal institutions. They still kept a diner and over time this changed along with the administrative structure of the empire, each dynasty carried out reforms to the provinces, each with advantages and disadvantages. Constantinople was a huge and enduring metropolis, because of this, that have a lot of landmark options. Also, the cities are particularly good to live in this time, with aqueducts, public baths, firefighters’ teams, and police corps.
Militarily speaking they make some improvements in the roman legions. Infantry becomes a combination of the Greek hoplite and the roman legionary called “Skutatos”, a phalanx fighter soldier. After some wars with the Persians adopt the Cataphract heavy cavalry units. After a civil war in which the empire was defeated by the Varangian Rus, they adopted this heavy infantry to form the Veregan Guard to replace the old Palatine and Praetorian Guards. Perhaps the most important and exclusive thing is that its alchemists created a flammable mixture in the air called Greek fire, a compound that continued to burn on water and was used both in large siphons installed on ships or as a portable flame thrower in the hands of some specialized units.


  • Garrisoned relics increase the production speed of nearby buildings in 10%.
  • Spearmen, Horseman and Man-At-Arms 10% cheaper.
  • Stone walls cost -30%.
  • Trebuchets +1 range.
  • Age advancement 15% cheaper.
  • Senate Mechanic.

-Hospital: Building with an aura that heals nearby units and if they are garrisoned they heal even faster


  • Cataphract: Replaces the knight, strong armored cavalry against infantry. Throw a dart every 10 seconds.
  • Skutatos: Replaces the spearmen and have a phalanx formation that reduces their speed, but makes them more resistant.
  • Varegian Guard (or “Tagma Varángōn”): Heavy infantry, It has a hand ax and shield mode in which it is more resistant and another where you put the shield on your back to hit with the two-handed axe and inflict more damage.
  • Fire Dromon: A fast ship with short range and high damage. Weak against artillery ships.
  • Peltastos: Cheaper and less armored version of a javelin thrower, with bonus against ranged units.
  • Siphonatores: Ranged infantry that takes the place of ribadoquines and culverins. Launches a jet of fire that does damage in a line at close range, it is very destructive against wooden buildings.


*Notes: The siphonatores can also be a replace of hand cannoneer, why? Because the only reference of hand cannoneers in the empire was the ############## and they were Italian mercenaries. The Cataphract is an ancient unit so is accurate to be an Age II unit, but that is maybe a little broken consider the early man-at-arms are verry powerful. *

Throughout the game it is possible to choose an administrative system, although the first decision is free, you have to spend resources each time a change is made, which also takes 1 minute.

  • Exarchate: Military buildings are 10% cheaper, also Cataphract and Man-At-Arms are 10% cheaper. Initial town center generates a small amount of gold.
  • Themata: Farms produce 20% more food and spearmen, archers and peltasts are 15% cheaper.
  • Duchies And Catapanates: Handgunners and Varegian Guard 10% cheaper. Traders get wood equal to 10% of the gold they carry.
  • Citizen Nobility: Buildings are built 15% faster and cost 10% less. The Siphonatores and Fire Dromon are 10% cheaper. Traders get stone equal to 10% of the gold they carry.

To age II
Hipodrome: Can garrison cavalry to produce gold.

Bucoleon Palace: Functions as a faster dock, but can shoot arrows.

To Age III
Saint Catalin Monastery: Acts as a temple an can garrison up to two relics, also generates 25% more gold from relics.

To Age IV
Christea Turris: Powerfull towe, all towers deals 15% more damage.

Sacrum Palatium: Acts as a fortress and town center, can train Varegian guard and Cataphract faster.

Wonder: Sophia Cathedral.


  • Skutatos: Age I.
  • Man-at-arms: Age III.
  • Varegan Guard: Age III.

Archery Range

  • Archer: Age II.
  • Peltastos: Age II.
  • Crossbowmen: Age III.
  • Hand cannoneer: Age IV.


  • Horseman: Age II.
  • Cataphract: Age III.

Siege Workshop

  • Springald: Age III.
  • Mangonel: Age III.
  • Trebuchet: Age III.
  • Bombard: Age IV.
  • Siphonatores: Age III.


  • Galley: Age II.
  • Hulk: Age III.
  • Demolition Ship: Age III.
  • Fire Dromon: Age III.
  • Carrack: Age IV.


  • Stratiotas: Infantry +1 melee armor.
  • Watch Firefighters: Infantry can repair buildings until they stop burning.
  • Iconoclasty: Temples work 40% faster.
  • Water Mills: Farms work 20% faster.
  • Cupule: Buildings +15% hit points.
  • Spur: Galley obtains a charge ability with cooldown, gives the possibility to make a melee attack, effective against light ships.
  • Tear Shield: Skutatos, man-at-arms and Catphract +1 of piercing armor.
  • Excubitors: Varegan guard +15% hit points.
  • Great Aqueducts: Town centers +10 of population support.
  • Greek Fire Bombs: Springalds gains area of effect, springald ship +5 damage.

A beautiful combination of classical era and oriental esthetics and techniques, Greek cross central plan design for great churches, development and extensive use of the dome-shaped dome to crown important buildings, houses and palaces with tiled roofs, majestic pillars and capitals abound in the most beautiful buildings.
The stone materials with which they built exhibited colors from gold to reddish, passing through white and gray that contrasted with the pigments that could cover them, especially where there were paintings such as inside temples and palaces.


Next Civ in my posts: Incas


I like that you have taken into account the importance of the Themes or Exarchates, it should be noted that many Byzantine characteristics, both administrative and military, were of Hellenistic or Eastern origin given the geographical situation and the eternal Roman adaptation, that is, they did not fight like legions but as phalanxes and their soldiers were not legionnaires but quite capable pikemen.


I like to think that they’re heavily more equipped than knights so instead of less armour make them have more armour than regular knights, bonus charge damage if they’re on wedge formation, and can toggle between range and melee attack. Their drawbacks however, they’re much slower than regular knight line, once you charge on wedge formation you can’t cancel them, and far more expensive than a regular knight line.

Magister Militum or Strategos as a unique scout line for Byzantines which almost has the same use as Khans from Mongols but having the ability to convert Byzantine units and boost military building productions, but instead of being killed outright they are stunned if they are defeated in battle, you can either bribe him to join you or kill him. They’re also capped so only 2 of them can exist.

All in all some really good ideas, it’s just easier to nitpick the problems. But I like the effort and most of the stuff looks awesome

Yeah same(with the higher cost)

No idea where the idea for less armoured catas came from, maybe too much aoe2? Like every game always portrays catas as more heavily armoured

Not sure about ranged attack though, hybrid units are always very difficult to balance, even more so since it’s more armoured

I think it’s fine if you leave the hybrid bit out. The civ is already getting a ton of flavour with so many UUs

This doesn’t make sense. You don’t replace anti siege with an anti mass unit. If anything it just replaces the slot for culverin/ribauld , even if it’s trainable in castle age

The twist on this could also be that it doesn’t cost gold. Or it’s a hybrid like CKN, with 1 of each Res.

I’m assuming you need to promote spammability of this, and therefore the goldless or very low gold value

Affect all military buildings in influence?

Hard no. Like massive no. The game certainly does not need more stone walling. They only get this if stone walls get a game wide 30-40% price increase

the way the game works with civ bonuses being generally on the OP side, you could probably up this to +2

Have you played malians? That’s what a sofa is, until you take a UT for it

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The legacy of ancient Rome that’s not correct.
Ancient Romans have nothing in common with the Byzantine Empire.

They were called Romans but only then it meant more Greeks than anything, even thought the empire was divided into two parts the main part of the empire was mostly greek cultured, greek language and everything.

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Amen to that brother, let’s hope the developers take into account the main features and this time make them speak Greek accordingly.

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Instead of Latin like aoe2 :rofl:


Thanks for that awesome overview. If the Byzantines would be implemented in a way like in the game i would be really happy!

I’m worried that they will make mistakes with the Byzantines as it seems many uneducated people think that just because they were called Romans back then it must mean Ancient Romans but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Latin was a part of the Byzantine Empire. Still, the primary language that everyone spoke was Greek, and Greek culture was powerful in the empire and survived all those years when it became an independent state after the Ottomans ruled over them.

When the Byzantine Empire was at it’s strongest the western part of the empire had already started to collapse and became very weak, hence you had several Latin-speaking people go up North to create the holy roman empire to continue with the Latin believes.

The city of Constantinople was founded by a Greek called Constantine. There are so many evidence out there, if people just search for it :slight_smile:

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That bothered me a lot back then when I played AoE2.

It was by far a pretty huge mess, talking a little more about the general aspect of the Byzantines I think that for everyone to contribute in an adequate and historically correct way they should have a basic idea of ​​who they were and how they worked:

Not much but still, reliable.


The point is that this type of armor is actually a little less armored than the plate armor of common medieval knights, not too much, but a little. However in a more flexible armor and therefore can make them more agile.
I like the darth throwind idea.

Thanks for your words, Now, I must make some clarifications (mostly because of my writing errors):

As I put in another comment, the armor of the cataphracts, although it is still heavy, is below one of plates, however it is more flexible and they could also be more powerful if they throw darts as they suggested in another comment, I know it’s weird considering that their name refers to how armored they are, but that’s kind of the case.

Siphonatotes: Sorry, writing error, I wanted to put ribadoquin / culverin, although as I mentioned it could also simply be the replacement for the hand cannoner.

Peltastos: I think low cost gold is good.

Garrisoned Relics: Yes, is an aura.

Trebucheds: Okey, this is maybe more good.

Sofa: I got carried away a bit by what it is in the AoE II

The Eastern Empire existed before Rome fell, what happens is that it was orientalized and Hellenized, however the first emperors still spoke Latin and preserved many elements of the administration such as the Senate, in addition to designs such as the aqueducts Romans or even an imperial guard embodied in the Excubitors (although this was gradually being replaced by other units). Anyway I understand why you say it, from a distance it seems that they are two very different things.

From what I see when mentioning Rome I gave the image that I still considered it as the Western Empire, but in reality I mention it because of its origin and that of many of the elements that it maintained until the end, as is the case of the Senate. I watched a couple of documentaries and part of the Osprey books from which I took the images, I am aware that they have become their own thing. In any case, I don’t think it’s wrong that in the first age the units speak Latin and from the second age and beyond they speak Greek, after all that is what happened with the emperors even if it was only with the first ones.

I’m not denying that there wasn’t any Latin or Rome influence within the empire after all it was a big empire I just want to acknowledge that the Greek influence was a bigger part of the Eastern Roman Empire than some folks realize, and in the end, it stood fast while the western part pretty much had died out.

And I can understand how it can be confusing as even the Greeks back then were calling themselves Romans.

“The Byzantine Empire ( Greek name: Βασιλεία τῶν Ρωμαίων - Basileia tōn Romaiōn) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, centered around its capital of Constantinople.”

“Though largely Greek-speaking and Christian, the Byzantines called themselves “Romaioi,” or Romans”. Important to know here is that the Latin-speaking side wasn’t Christians so that’s another reason why the Eastern part was more heavily Greek in both culture and religion etc.

I think the only way to make justice to both sides is for them to speak in Latin in the Dark Ages and then from either the Feadul age or Castle Age and onwards they speak more and more Greek as it makes more sense.

Why do I make such a big deal out of this? Because I’m tired of seeing people, again and again, ignore the Greeks like the Byzantine Empire was only Latin and Romans from Rome which by the way The Byzantine name came only after the empire had fallen. Prior to that, the western and eastern roman empire was quite different in many aspects even though they were part of the same empire.

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Don’t worry, about the names, something similar happens to me when they call the Mexicas “Aztecs” because that name was always for when they were another civilization (something of their founding myth) or when they call the Purepecha empire “Tarascan” because they are supposed to it is an insult.

It would be a big mistake if they didn’t speak Greek from the earliest stage, Latin was never established in the eastern parts of the Roman empire, Greek was always the standardized language during Rome and after Rome, and as wikipedia also acknowledges, at least since the 6th century, Hellenization reached administrative aspects among other things.