For the Napoleon: Total War faction, see Papal States (Napoleon: Total War).

Papal States
Leader Gregory
Religion Catholic
Appears in Grand Campaign and Tutorial Campaign
Culture Southern European
Starting regions Rome Region

The Papal States is a catholic faction positioned in central Italy. Appearing in Medieval Total War 1 & 2, the faction acts as a normal Total War faction but has a few unique characteristics. As the name suggests, The Papal States is led by the current Pope. This gives them considerable influence if a faction is Catholic, or has to deal with the various Catholic factions. The States can never truly be destroyed unless the entire map has been conquered; this is because they simply request a new homeland territory from one of the catholic nations. This request is rarely turned down as it gives massive favour from the pope. If a faction turns the pope down he will simply ask another faction. A negative relationship with the papacy is likely to follow. This faction can be only unlocked by file editing.


The Papal States will wield considerable influence during a campaign launching crusades against non-catholic factions, calling Inquisitions and also causing problems during a war between two catholic factions. Requests to cease hostilities with a certain faction are common; failing to heed these will decrease favour with the Papal States. A war with them will be very costly as very soon after war is declared most, if not all, catholic factions, and any allies the papacy have, will declare war, potentially leading most of Europe against a faction. The faction leader, if catholic, will also be excommunicated, causing considerable internal dissent and loyalty problems.

Getting a member of your faction elected as head of the papal states (pope) will mean a former cardinal of your faction will become the faction leader of the papacy. This can make gaining trade rights, alliances and so forth considerably easier as well as making requests to crusade more likely to succeed. The same principle occurs if a good relationship is gained with the current pope. Increasing relations with the papal state faction will also lead to a direct increase in standings with the pope.

Militarily, they are not usually that powerful but no faction in the game can afford a negative papal relationship, especially early on. For Islamic nations, a good diplomatic relationship with the pope can turn crusades away from their settlements. Their military forces are comprised of units very similar to Italian city states such as Milan and Venice with a few powerful special papal units, overall they seem to rarely deploy sufficient cavalry forces and their infantry can be beaten with standard tactical maneuvers such as flanking and hit and run attacks if an infantry melee is not desired or advisable. They also have a lack of generals to lead their forces meaning assassination is ideal for weakening the faction.

Their general power can be magnified by a player however, if a crusading player lacked the funds to hold onto the taken territories, they can be gifted to the papacy. A territory that is far away from a faction's territory, usually means, that it is likely to be attacked by other factions. In this case, it is very likely that Turkey and Egypt will attack the crusading faction if the Holy lands have being taken. Gifting lands to the Pope can have considerable benefits, as crusades to the East are common, meaning crusading factions are going to send armies on a Crusade, and thus, leaving their home lands more vulnerable to attacks, as well as potentially taking the papacy directly out of Europe if Rome is taken. Conversely an Islamic faction particularly in the initial stages of a campaign is vulnerable to crusades, and maintaining positive relations with the Papacy will reduce this risk even if a possibility that, at some point, a Crusade will be called. To be noted that the papacy nearly never accompanies the crusading forces however.

More than any other factions, Milan, Venice, Sicily and the Holy Roman Empire have to keep a very close watch on the Papal States. They begin with territories very close to them and the Papal States can launch attacks on their settlements. Their position in central Italy also prevents these factions from totally securing the peninsula. Newer players often believe the Papal States will never begin a war. However, this is not true. They behave like any other faction. Their expansionist nature is just usually restrained until a players faction is close to them. The factions mentioned must also launch wars against Catholics making them even more susceptible to papal attacks. Keeping a check on the alliances the Papal states currently have, is also wise, as the Pope will help his allies, and if Papal Armies are in close proximity to it allies when battle starts, they will assist them, and thus, triggering an unwanted war with the Pope.


Have the typically strong militia of the Italian powers.


Poor cavalry.


  • Religion - Catholic
  • Long Campaign win conditions - Hold 100 regions, including: Rome Region.
  • Short Campaign win conditions - Hold 80 regions, including: Rome Region.
  • Financial Start - Starting Purse 5,000 Florins
  • Kings Purse- 1,500 Florins


  • Rome (Minor City, Capital) - Town Guard, Abbey, Paved Roads

Initial units

  • 1 General Bodyguard's
  • 3 Italian Spear Militia
  • 2 Italian Militia
  • 3 Pavise Crossbowmen
  • 2 Mailed Knights

Ruling Family

  • Pope Gregory (Age 40; Faction Leader) - Command 2, Chivalry/Dread 0, Authority 3, Piety 3

Initial Agents

  • Talentos Arlocti (Age 30; Diplomat) - 3 Influence
  • Froderigus (Age 28; Cardinal) - 5 piety

Historically Edit

The Papal State(s), State(s) of the Church or Pontifical States (Italian: Stato Ecclesiastico, Stato Pontificio, Stato della Chiesa, Stati della Chiesa or Stati Pontificii; Latin: Status Pontificius) were one of the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (after which the Papal States, in less territorially extensive form, continued to exist until 1870).The Papal States comprised territories under direct sovereign rule of the papacy, and at its height it covered most of the modern Italian regions of Romagna, Marche, Umbria and Lazio. This governing power is commonly called the temporal power of the Pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.The plural Papal States is usually preferred; the singular Papal State (equally correct since it was not a mere personal union) is rather used (normally with lower-case letters) for the modern State of Vatican City, an enclave within Italy's national capital, Rome. Vatican City was founded in 1929, again allowing the Holy See the political benefits of territorial sovereignty.

Relationship with the Holy Roman Empire

Events in the 9th century postponed the conflict: the Frankish Empire collapsed as it was subdivided among Charlemagne's grandchildren, and the papacy's prestige declined, with the tyranny of the local Roman nobility in the tenth century, into the condition later dubbed the pornocracy, or "rule by harlots".[2] In practice, the Popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty over the extensive and mountainous territories of the Papal States, and the region preserved its old Lombard system of government, with many small countships and marquisates, each centered upon a fortified rocca. Over several campaigns in the mid-tenth century, the German ruler Otto I conquered northern Italy; Pope John XII crowned him emperor (the first so crowned in more than forty years), and the two of them ratified the Diploma Ottonianum, which guaranteed the independence of the Papal States. Yet over the next two centuries, Popes and Emperors squabbled over a variety of issues, and the German rulers routinely treated the Papal States as part of their realms on those occasions when they projected power into Italy. A major motivation for the Gregorian Reform was to free the administration of the Papal States from imperial interference, and after the extirpation of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the German emperors rarely interfered in Italian affairs. By 1300, the Papal States, along with the rest of the Italian principalities, were effectively independent. This is represented in the game as the Empire has a very low starting relationship with the papacy.

Trivia Edit

  • The State of the Vatican City that exists today is the successor of the Papal States and is the smallest nation on earth.
  • Pope Gregory, the Pope who is in power at the beginning of the campaign is an actual historical figure.
  • Unlike most factions it is impossible to destroy The Papal States. Even if you capture Rome as the Pope will respawn near Rome.
  • It should also be noted that the Pope is a combat general.
Medieval II: Total War Factions
Starting Grand Campaign Factions EnglandFranceThe Holy Roman EmpireSpainVenice
Unlock-able Grand Campaign Factions SicilyMilanScotlandThe Byzantine EmpireRussiaMoorsThe TurksEgyptDenmarkPortugalPolandHungary
Unplayable Grand Campaign Factions The Papal StatesThe AztecsThe MongolsTimurids • Rebels
Tutorial Campaign NormansThe Papal StatesSaxonsScotland • Rebels