Medieval 2: Total War Faction Information
On this page, you can find information on the factions in Medieval 2: Total War.
The Byzantine Empire
The Byzantines are the heirs to the remains of the Eastern Roman Empire. Their backward-looking nature as opposed to the progressive mindset of their neighbours is the cause of stagnation, unrest and general dissent in their empire and they have been in steady decline for decades. Catholicism is the greatest threat to Byzantium, typified by the Great Schism, since the nations under the influence of Rome are likely to attempt to seize the world’s trade capital, Constantinople, tearing the heart out of the Byzantine Empire. The Turks are nearly as large a threat to the east, but fortunately they are a single enemy and there is a chance to consolidate holdings in Anatolia before war truly begins. The Byzantines lack virtually all forms of gunpowder in their late units, meaning that they will have to rely on their relatively strong early units to counter this threat.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as the Byzantine Empire, click here.
Denmark is a relatively new kingdom in the world of Christendom, emerging from centuries of paganism under Viking rule. Exactly one hundred years ago, Harold Bluetooth, the Viking King of the Danes, embraced Christianity, not just personally, but also on behalf of his people. Though the Vikings’ fierce conviction in battle was a true asset, forsaking these pagan ways and embracing Catholicism is what has actually elevated Denmark into a true northern power. With the Reich and other Catholic Kingdoms offering support against stubborn Viking pagans, the Kings of Denmark now enjoy an absolute authority that has never been seen in the region before. The Danes have no illusions that maintaining such authority abroad is an easy feat, having lost control of England within the last half century. In fact, forging agreements of co-operative leadership with the Norwegian royal court almost saw an end to Danish rule over the Kingdom of Denmark itself. So it would seem that both diplomatic and militaristic expansion are something the Danish Kings are yet to master. Arguably the most expedient move that the present King Knut II could now make would be to try to take the Scandinavian lands to the north rather than continue to negotiate with them. No mortal army could possibly dream of approaching Norway or Sweden’s northern reaches, making the region an ideal set of easily defendable homelands. Crossing the Baltic Sea is also an obvious option that offers the Danes several access points into Eastern Europe without having to deal with the Imperial forces in Saxony. It is more than a little ironic that the Catholic powers of Europe that have secured Denmark’s future are now the main obstacles to seeing that future improve.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Denmark, click here.
Egypt has been conquered and ruled by the Fatimid dynasty for about a century. However, while the empire at one time stretched from Sicily to Yemen and from Syria to Morocco, in recent years its territory has declined considerably and its rulers are mostly restricted to Egypt. Even those borders may be challenged over time, with the threat of crusades imminent and the Turkish tribes organising an increasingly powerful new state. The rulers of Egypt are therefore faced with an enormous challenge: to retain their territories and regain their lost possessions in the face of growing external hostility.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Egypt, click here.
After conquering England in 1066, the Normans rapidly replenished their coffers with an efficient new taxation system. The balanced force of their army and the fact that they invaded with the support of the Pope also counted in their favour, allowing them to conduct a more modern form of warfare for the new age. While Scotland to the north prevent England from having full control of the British Isles, they are isolated from potential allies in Europe and are therefore a relatively easy target. France to the south are plenty strong enough to defeat the English force in Normandy, but they have enough fronts to deal with that they are unlikely to be marching in force before England are able to gain a stronger hold on northern France. England’s Longbowmen are some of the strongest in the world as well as strong infantry, although they have a poor variety of cavalry.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as England, click here.
France is the ideal example of the feudal system, providing a military force for the king. The greatest problem with the French kingdom is the complete lack of unity within it. The Normans have taken England and aren’t looking back while various other provinces are rebelling against French rule, subduing these is the first step to generating a decent powerbase in Europe to counter the threat of the Holy Roman Empire to the east. England, Spain, Portugal and Milan are also potential threats, so France must be able to fight on multiple fronts. France’s strangths are their heavy cavalry and good infantry in the late period, but in the early period, they have particularly poor infantry.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as France, click here.
The Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire is something of a misnomer, as the true heirs to the Roman Empire are the Byzantines and they are closer to a collection of duchies and fiefdoms than a truly cohesive empire. A great rift in opinion exists between the Kaiser and the Pope over whether the Empire controls the Church or vice versa. The Empire is in a position where the strategic opportunities are widely varied. France is a separate country to the west, Italy is a collection of duchies and the countries to the east are more threatening than places to threaten. The location in the centre of Europe makes the Holy Roman Empire a faction that can be played in many different ways. Their main strength is in a lack of specific weaknesses, they are strong all round, while they lack the professional armies that are available to some nations in the Late Period.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as The Holy Roman Empire, click here.
Exactly a full millennium since the birth of the Messiah, the Christian Kingdom of Hungary was born when Pope Silvester II sent the “Holy Crown” to signify that the pious noble István I, had become the founding Christian monarch of the realm. Dying without leaving an heir, pagans soon once again assumed control of Hungary, but it would seem this is a land Christendom was destined to call its own. When László recently succeeded his brother Geza I as King of Hungary, he nationalised Christianity so utterly, and with such fervour, that he is already being deemed by many to be a living Saint.
Though it is clear that the Pope’s approval of László’s unusual piety has no doubt re-established Hungary as a respectable Catholic kingdom, it would appear that the Hungarians will soon be taking on another Christian power should they wish to expand at all. The Holy Roman Empire and Poland essentially cut off all of Hungary’s options to the west or north respectively, leaving Moldavia and Wallachia as the paths of least resistance out of the Carpathian mountains.
Of course, to follow such a path is to spoil the plans of the Byzantine Empire to regain its western provinces. Avoiding interfering with Byzantine interests leaves only one other option, sweeping north around the Crimea into the Ukraine. This however, simply replaces one Orthodox adversary with another, and will require immediate action, as the armies of Novgorod are already poised to sweep southward to unite the Russian principalities.
Regardless what László’s first move is, nothing will change the fact that Hungary has become Catholicism’s physical front line against all other faiths – Something that will doubtlessly bring great glory, yet even greater bloodshed.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Hungary, click here.
During the Middle Ages, Milan prospered as a center of trade due to its command of the rich plain of the Po and routes from Italy across the Alps. The war of conquest by Frederick I Barbarossa against the Lombard cities brought the destruction of much of Milan in 1162. After the founding of the Lombard League in 1167, Milan took the leading role in this alliance. As a result of the independence that the Lombard cities gained in the Peace of Constance in 1183, Milan became a duchy. In 1450, Milan passed to the noble House of Sforza, which made Milan one of the leading cities of the Italian Renaissance.
Milan & Lombardy were a prize fought for by the leading powers of Europe. The battle of Pavia was during a period where France, Austria & then Spain controlled the city. However, as the leader of Milan, you have the chance to set history on a different track.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Milan, click here.
Poland emerged as a state in the 10th century and developed into the second largest state in Europe after Russia during the 16th century. Formidable foreign enemies nearly put paid to the country in the 13th century but Poland regained strength & territory during the 14th Century to lead into a Polish/Lithuanian “golden age”. Their cavalry roster is strong with both good quality melee & missile cavalry to call upon and while their early infantry is not all that impressive, their later units are more than capable of matching the western powers. The Polish Nobles are available from an early point in the game and they are more than capable javelin armed cavalry but also very useful in melee. Later Polish Guards & Knights become available and these are excellent quality melee cavalry units. Dismounted Polish Nobles can hold the line in the early campaign but later Dismounted Polish Knights become available. Lithuanian Archers can use stakes to protect them from cavalry. Aside from the excellent Polish Nobles, the other missile cavalry is only adequate.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Poland, click here.
The Russians have a history of absorbing foreign invaders within the vastness of their country. It was no different in medieval times when Christian Crusades and Mongol invasions had to be dealt with. The Russians have huge distances between the cities to cope with but this can be as much of a blessing as a curse as their enemies also have to deal with these distances. While Russia is not well endowed with quality infantry units (especially in the early stages), the Russian cavalry is of excellent quality, perhaps even the best cavalry roster available in the game. Being a Christian faction will not protect you from the whims of the papcy as orthodox Christians are seen in the same light as pagans, muslims & other heretics. Defending Russia from multiple crusades is a very real possibility.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Russia, click here.
Scotland in the 11th century stands at a crossroads. Governed by the last of a line of Gaelic kings, the royals become Scoto-Norman from the 12th century onwards, causing a great change in Scotland’s cultural appearance and the composition of her armies. Not only is the government re-modelled after French and English examples, the Scottish armies gain a more prominent heavy cavalry component, although the Gaelic clans are far from subdued.
At the same time, Scotland must fight to retain her lands. England is aggressively expanding northwards and has her eyes set on territories that were formerly firmly Scottish, like Northumberland. To counter this, Scotland must seek out England’s neighbours and turn them into her own allies. Wales, Ireland and France can all play a significant part in England’s downfall, while stronger ties with the Papacy may also play a part in holding off the southern neighbour.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Scotland, click here.
In 1127 the duchy of Apulia and Calabria and the county of Sicily were united in a personal union. Roger II’s support of an antipope was rewarded with his promotion to king in 1130: the kingdom of Sicily was born. Recognition by the official pope in 1139 allowed the Norman rulers of this territory to expand their domains into Africa and to harass Mediterranean trade, primarily at the cost of the Byzantines and the Muslims. In 1189 the Norman rulers had left no direct heirs and a civil war led to the occupation of the kingdom by the Holy Roman Emperors, the traditional protectors of the pope. The most important emperor to rule Sicily was Frederick II, who favoured his Sicilian holdings over his German lands and spent his reign suppressing revolts. He also, like previous rulers of Sicily, launched a crusade to the Holy Land. When the Hohenstaufen dynasty of emperors died out in 1266, the kingdom passed first to a brother of the King of France and later to the King of Aragon.
However, it is your task to avoid the end of the Norman dynasty, and preserve Sicily’s role as an independent Mediterranean power of note.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Sicily, click here.
Spain are a relatively united force by recent standards, as most of the Christian kingdoms and fiefdoms are united, but the tight hold that the Moors have on southern Spain and the recent independence of Portugal mean that they are not necessarily a hugely powerful kingdom. Obviously, the first priority will be to take the rebel territories to the east and to push the Moors back to North Africa, but beyond that, the objectives are not so clear. France are a powerful kingdom and invading them is perhaps not a wise choice, which leaves a naval-based empire. This may be the future or it may be folly, the success or failure of the Spanish king will determine that. Spain’s main strengths are an excellent navy and excellent light infantry and cavalry, while they lack heavy infantry and spearmen in the early period.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Spain, click here.
Relative newcomers to the region, the success of the Seljuk Turks can be attributed to abandoning their nomadic lifestyle and settling down. The Battle of Manzikert was their grand entry into the field of European warfare, when they annihilated the Byzantine Empire. It is foolish to suppose that they would be so complacent to assume that the Byzantines do not want revenge. The Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt will be the main enemy in the fight for the Holy Lands, the importance of this fight for supremacy between the Muslims can have a huge effect on Christian Europe, for better or for worse (although marriage is unlikely). The Main strengths of the Turkish armies are its adoption of gunpowder and its mounted units, although the lack of heavy infantry and spearmen, particularly in the early period, is a disadvantage.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as the Turks, click here.
Having grown from the remnants of Byzantine rule in northern Italy, Venice developed into a powerful city state in it’s own right. From their controlling position in the Adriatic, they dominated maritime trade in the Mediterranean. It was upon the capture of Constantinople that Venice became a serious power. It had morphed from a Duchy to a republic. While other Italian cities were fought over and came under the control of greater powers, Venice itself remained independent until it was captured by Napoleon in 1797 after over a millennium of self-rule. You control Venice as she was in the early days of her power. The Adriatic & Crete are yours to control and expand from there.
For a more detailed description of gameplay as Venice, click here.