"The Greeks could rule the world. Alexander did. He took a Greek army to the far Indus. There was nothing left to conquer. The world was his. But Alexander is dead. His empire is gone. And so we live in evil days. The free men of Greece have turned on each other, instead of their proper enemies - those who envy all the Greeks have done. Alexander must weep - if the dead weep. I will weep in his place, but I will also hope. The world turns. What was may come again. The Fates still spin the web of men's lives. So now, perhaps the gods wish the Greeks to be great again. Perhaps a new Alexander will take up the sword. Bring order where there is chaos. Remake the world of men into a better plan ... perhaps."
-Greek leader during the introduction
The Greeks have a right to be proud. They are the fathers of democracy and reason, bringers of civilization and culture to the lands around the Mediterranean. There are few corners of the known world that have not felt the tread of a Greek army, or been graced by the magnificence of Greek architecture. The world is only the way it is because Greeks fought off the despots of Persia, and because Alexander led Greeks to the ends of the earth!
Now, however, the Greeks are reduced in power, and largely confined to their original homelands. A loose confederation of city-states and petty kingdoms, held together by a need for mutual protection, is what remains. But there could still be greatness within Greece. The same blood that once defied Xerxes still runs in the veins of Athenians, Thebans, Spartans and the rest. The men of Greece still value their independence and civilization, and could still take this back to every corner of the world.
Perhaps now is the time for the Greeks to be great again. Alexander’s heirs still fight amongst themselves for the spoils of empire. The rising power of Rome has yet to break out of the confines of Italy – they face the Carthaginians as rivals. To the north, the semi-civilized Dacians and other barbarians are surely no threat to civilized men, and Greeks have never bowed the knee to Eastern despots!
The Greek Cities are a civilised nation in Rome: Total War.
Starting off spread across Sicily, southern Greece, Asia Minor and Rhodes, the Greeks are initially in a very weak position. However with rapid action to form alliances and grab rebel cities, a skilled player can migrate to a position of strength within just a few turns.
The Greek armies are based off the powerful phalanx fomations known as hoplites and the fast mobile skirmishers, peltasts. With this overwhelming infantry advantage, supported by some of the most powerful siege engines in the game, the Greeks are a force to be reckoned with.
The basic unit of the greek army is the hoplite. Well armoured, tightly packed and presenting a formidable front, used correctly this is one of the most powerful units in the game at this level. However with very low speed whilst in phalanx formation and vulnerable sides and rear, this unit stands very weak to flanking maneuvers and due to the Greeks lacking in excellent cavalry, they are very vulnerable against cavalry based factions.
Upgrades to the hoplite come in the Armoured hoplite, and (starting cities only) the feared and famed Spartan hoplite. Both of these represent a significant upgrade on the basic hoplite unit, with the Spartan hoplites being some of the best man for man soldiers in Rome: Total War.
Support for the Greek battle line comes from javelinmen, known as peltasts, and a heavier upgrade who can double as light infantry, heavy peltasts and archers. The Greeks can also build onagers, ballistas and heavy onagers.
The Greeks only have 2 cavalry units apart from the General's armoured bodyguard, Militia cavalry and Greek cavalry. Militia cavalry are unarmoured mounted javelinmen, capable of forming a cantabrian circle. Greek cavalry are lightly armoured, unshielded spear armed cavalry, best suited to flanking and chasing down light troops.
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.
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.
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.
Heavy peltasts are skirmishers, but carry large oval shields into battle. This added protection makes them suitable for standing in the main battle line, as well as for flanking and screening duties.
Their javelins are intended to thin the ranks of approaching troops, weakening their morale just before battle is joined. They also carry short swords for when they are asked to engage in close combat.
A heavy peltast’s shield (the thureos), is made from wood covered in leather. While this confers reasonable protection, when confronted with heavy infantry or practically any form of cavalry, these troops should not be expected to stand for long. Like other peltasts, this unit is well suited to using ambush tactics.
The basis of nearly all military power in Greece once revolved around the hoplite. Operating in phalanxes, or tightly grouped blocks, these men are a powerful force against infantry or cavalry.
Hoplite tactics are simple: formations generally approach the opposing army in normal order, and then close ranks into the phalanx so that each soldier is protected by overlapping shields. Then it is simply a matter of closing with the enemy as quickly as possible to decide the battle. Well trained, these troops have great stamina, and are some of the most effective soldiers in the known world.
Hoplites generally supply their own equipment, so are not drawn from the poorer sections of society. They wear a hardened leather cuirass breastplate, and carry both a round shield (the hoplon) and a thrusting spear. This spear has a bronze butt-spike to plant in the ground (bronze is not prone to rusting like iron), which doubles as a weapon if the pike shaft breaks.
Armoured hoplites are an elite among Greek soldiery, carefully selected and given the best training to make them superior spearmen. Each of them is equipped with good body armour, greaves and a helmet and carries a large round shield, the hoplon that gives this kind of soldier the name of hoplite. Each man is also armed with a formidable thrusting spear called the xyston and a sword. They are usually employed as solid, close-packed groups of men, presenting a wall of spear points to the enemy. In phalanx formation, they use weight of numbers to batter into enemy formations.
They are vulnerable to flank and rear attacks, and ideally need some sort of light supporting troops to screen them as they approach the enemy.
Spartan hoplites are trained from infancy to be nothing but soldiers. They are 'perfect soldiers' and nothing else. All of Spartan life is spent training for war. Weaklings perish soon after birth; youths are taught to thieve and terrorize the slave class to harden them; young men are taught nothing unless it has something to do with the arts of war - even music and dance are there only to help keep step when marching and obeying orders.
The result is a man who thinks nothing of danger, expects to win, and creates a sense of dread in his opponents.
Spartans fight in the traditional fashion as hoplites, carrying a long thrusting spear and the large round hoplon shield, and as a phalanx: a close-packed mass of men moving as one to crush their enemies.
If they have a weakness it is that they are hide-bound traditionalists, and the once-mighty state of Sparta has not moved with the times.
Militia cavalry are javelin-armed mounted skirmishers who can strike quickly and be gone in the time it takes a more ponderous enemy to react. They do not wear armour, but do carry shields and swords so that they can fight in hand-to-hand combat should the need arise. They are, however, best used to dash in and harass a mass of enemies, such as heavy infantry who cannot hope to catch them. They are not ideally suited to fighting other skirmishers - many of their javelins will be wasted against targets who can dodge, after all - but they can be very useful in harrying fleeing enemies and driving them from the field.
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.
Incendiary pigs are 'one shot' weapons intended to spread panic and terror amongst enemies, particularly mounted troops.
The pigs are coated in pitch, tar and oil, and herded towards the enemy. At the right moment, the pigs are ignited by their handlers and, not unnaturally, they run away in pain and terror - hopefully towards the enemy. Apart from goring anyone foolish enough to get in their way, the pigs are tremendously disruptive to formations. They are also very frightening for elephants in particular, and this is their main use in warfare.
Pigs can only be fired up once during a battle, and few survive for long.
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 the Greek Cities is fictional and depicts a lightning bolt, this alludes to the major ancient Greek god Zeus as he was the god of the sky, lightning and thunder.