After the death of Alexander the Great the empire he had created tottered and fell into disarray with remarkable speed. His empire was the largest ever seen, and the generals struggled against each other for the ultimate prize of being the new Alexander. Something that none of them was quite strong enough to attain. The Diadochi, or Successors, were only strong enough to hold together fragments of Alexander’s empire.
Macedonia was the original home of Alexander, now ruled by the descendants of general Antigonus Cyclops or Antigonus the One-Eyed. The Macedonians are the proud inheritors of Alexander’s original kingdom. Macedonia itself, with parts of Greece as dependencies, has the potential to be a strong power once more. Although the empire may have slipped away from the Macedonians, they are still deadly warriors and fierce opponents. The Antigonid dynasty commands the respect of their people and has a strong military tradition. Macedonia has spent many long years struggling against the other Diadochi or ‘Successor’ states. This military might could equally be turned against other powers for domination of the eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor and then, perhaps, the whole of the known world. A new Greek empire could arise and equal the achievements of Alexander...
The Macedonians are a non-playable faction in Rome Total War and can only be played in multiplayer unless one edits the descr_strat.txt file.
The Macedonian roster is composed of excellent pike infantry and cavalry alongside having good siege weapons but lacking in melee infantry. They also possess the Statue of Zeus wonder which gives a bonus 4+ population loyalty.
These factors and the advantages of having wealthy trade routes by sea means that once they have forced the Greek Cities faction out of the peninsula, they can focus on the building of economic, trade and military buildings making them one of the most powerful faction so early in the game with an excellent staging ground for conquests.
They will need these as they will eventually be surrounded by enemies and will eventually go to war against the House of Brutii and all of the Roman factions.
They are featured in the historical battle of Cynoscephalae, where they ambush a Scipiian scout party before engaging the main force.
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but numbers are useful in all armies. 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. If nothing else, they are useful when there's digging to be done! They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding whenever there is cover.
Greek 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 hoplites are levies drawn from cities and thrust into battle with a little training. They fight best as spearmen, and are armed with long spears and each carries the large round hoplon shield which gives them their name. As a type of infantry hoplites have been around for centuries and have changed little in tactics or equipment. These men wear no armour, but then they are drawn from the poorer classes and it is traditional for citizens to provide their own war gear when called into the army. The cities of the Greek world have a long tradition of the people defending their own cities from invaders.
They are at their best when used as a solid block of spearmen and can form a phalanx to attack the enemy.
As war approaches, peasants, farmers and down-at-heel townsfolk can find themselves pressed into service as pikemen by their rulers. Due to their lack of armour they are best used as defensive infantry, absorbing enemy attacks, or screening the flanks of the main line.
Equipped with a long pike some 6m in length (the sarissa) many ranks can bring their weapons to bear on an enemy, presenting a bristling array of spearheads to an approaching foe. They also carry swords for use when the enemy breaks through the pike line.
Although training is practically non-existent, as inheritors of the hoplite tradition levy pikemen can manoeuvre in a phalanx formation. But with no armour other than the small shields strapped to their left arms, under pressure these levied troops are liable to suffer heavy casualties.
Phalanx pikemen (or phalangites) form the backbone of Macedonian and Seleucid battle lines. In phalanx formation these troops can be used to pin the enemy line in place, while mobile forces wheel around the flanks to deliver a decisive blow.
The phalangites are drawn from families with decent resources, as these men need to provide leather cuirass armour and a metal helmet for protection. Phalanx pikemen carry a small shield strapped to the left arm, leaving both hands free to brandish a lengthy pike (the sarissa). Gripped in both hands above the head up to five ranks’ worth of pikes can be aimed at the enemy. Men in rows further back hold their pikes at a 45 degree angle, creating a shield to ward off enemy arrows. All phalanx pikemen also have short swords.
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.
Archers are rightly feared for the casualties they can inflict, but they are vulnerable in hand-to-hand combat.
They are drawn from the peasant classes of all societies, as these are the people who need to be skilled hunters in order to survive. Learning to use a bow well is something that takes a lifetime and constant practice, and putting food on the table provides good practice.
They are best used to weaken enemy formations, or placed in a spot where they can retreat and find protection from other troops.
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 are fast moving horsemen armed with spears for maximum impact in a charge. They are not heavily armoured, and do not have shields for protection, relying instead on the old maxim of 'speed is armour' for protection. As a result, they are best used as a hit-and-run force, rather than as soldiers who can indulge in hand-to-hand combat. That said, they are excellent for breaking up skirmishers, attacking lighter infantry such as missile troops and pursuing already broken enemies to prevent them rallying and rejoining a battle.
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 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.
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.
The onager is a catapult jokingly named for the tremendous kick it has when fired at the enemy (an "onager" is a wild ass). This war machine is powered by a twisted spring of animal sinew ropes, the most elastic substance available.
The throwing arm is held in tension by the sinews. When pulled back and held by a catch it can fling a boulder with considerable speed and range. This version can be used for reducing stone fortifications, but it can also be used on the battlefield for destroying enemy artillery and harassing troops (although admittedly by killing them outright).
The onager can also be used to launch incendiary missiles such as firepots, making it a versatile piece of artillery to any commander.
The heavy onager is an enormous catapult built using the same basic design as its 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.
- The symbol of Macedon depicts the Greek letter lambda, however, this is historically inaccurate as it was used as symbol by the state of Sparta in reality.