Equites Sagittarii (Western Roman Empire)
Equites Sagittarii (WRE)
Appears in Rome: Total War: Barbarian Invasion
Belongs to Western Roman Empire
Type Missile Cavalry
Weapon(s) Compound Bow, Sword
Soldiers in each unit 54
Attack skill 7 (Melee); 6 (Missile)
Charge bonus 4
Hitpoints 1
Armor 5
Defense skill 9
Shield bonus 0
Special abilities Can swim; Fast moving
Cost 610

Equites Sagittarii are the armoured horse archers of the Western Roman Empire, and cavalry that are quite capable of fighting hand-to-hand when they must.

With enemies on all Rome's frontiers who favour the use of horse archers, it was only a matter of time before both halves of the Empire started using horse archers. The equites sagittarii were units that entered service to adress this need; they were, however, also trained to fight as medium cavalry, using swords in hand-to-hand combat.

In the West these troops were (historically) limited in numbers, possibly because the climate did not suit the compound bows that horse archers need to be truly effective. These weapons tend to de-laminate - literally fall to bits - in damp weather (the glue used fails when wet) and damp is something that western and northern Europe has in abundance! The gradual colapse of the Empire's supply sistems to its armies probably didn't help matters either. As warriors, however, the equites sagittarii are an effective, if expensive, force.