Pontus is a non-playable faction in Rome: Total War. Pontus was a Hellenistic Kingdom on the southern coast of the Black Sea.
Pontus are an eastern faction, based in Asia Minor (Modern-day Turkey), having their origins with an ambitious Persian noble who siezed the area when Alexander's empire broke up. They were best known for their support for the pirates of Cilicia and their subsequent defeat by Pompey.
A refreshingly different faction, Pontus are similar in some ways to the Seleucids, but mainly they are unique. With a large amount of missile cavalry, chariots chariot archers, Cappadocian Lancers and Pikemen, they have a different balance to most factions, while not severely lacking in any department except heavy infantry.
Pontus is a small faction in Asia Minor. While their army is relatively weak at the low initial development levels of Asia Minor, Asia Minor itself is a relatively easy part of the map to take and hold. Trade and growth are relatively good around the area and Rhodes, Crete and the Seleucids are soon ripe for the picking. Tactically, Pontus are an eastern faction. Expect to field a mobile army of mainly missile units. There are Macedonian-influenced Pikemen though, allowing a solid infantry line to be made when dealing with the western armies and to provide more strategic options.
Pontus have mostly the basic eastern units, but with skirmisher cavalry instead of mounted archers. Scythed Chariots and Chariot Archers are also available, allowing further flexibility. The infantry is a little ticklish at times though; The early infantry suffers from poor morale and a lack of stopping power, although Eastern Infantry are very good at stopping enemy chariots. Pikemen and Cappadocian Lancers are available later on though, allowing more Seleucid-influenced tactics to be used to good effect.
It was founded by Mithridates I in 291 BC and lasted until its conquest by the Roman Empire in 63 BC. Despite being ruled by a dynasty which was a descendant of the Persian Achaemenid Empire it became hellenized due to the influence of the Greeks on the black sea and the smaller Hellenistic kingdoms in the Middle East. Pontus grew to its largest extent under Mithridates VI the great, who conquered Colchis, Cappadocia, Bithynia, Lesser Armenia, the Greek colonies of the Tauric Chersonesos and for a brief time the Roman province of Asia.
- Sinope - Pontic Capital; Region - Pontus
- Mazaka - Pontic Large Town; Region - Cappadocia
Pontus infantry units include the feared Bronze Shield Pikemen, the elite of the army of Pontus, among the heirs of the world-conquering phalanxes of Alexander the Great. Pontus has effective cavalry including Cappadocian Cavalry, which are are excellent horsemen, best suited to charging into and breaking through enemy formations with their lances. Pontic heavy cavalry are javelin-armed horsemen who can also fight hand-to-hand - a potent combination in one force.After a long struggle with Rome in the Mithridatic wars, Pontus was defeated, part of it was incorporated into the Roman Empire as the province Bithynia et Pontus and the eastern half survived as a client Kingdom. The Bosporan Kingdom also remained independent under Pharnaces II as an ally and friend of Rome. Colchis was also made into a client Kingdom. Pharnaces II later made an attempt at reconquering Pontus. During the civil war of Caesar and Pompey, he invaded Asia Minor, taking Colchis, lesser Armenia, Pontus and Cappadocia and defeating a Roman army at Nicopolis. Caesar responded swiftly and defeated him at Zela, where he uttered the famous phrase 'Veni, Vidi, Vici' (i came, i saw, i conquered). Pontic kings continued to rule the client Kingdom of Pontus, Colchis and Cilicia until Polemon II was finally forced to abdicate the Pontic throne by the Romans in 62 AD.