|Faction Overview||Armenia in Rise of Chivalry||Armenia in Renovatio Europam|
|Faction Type: Orthodox|
|Available Unique Buildings:
Suggestions and Spoilers
- Strengths: Exceptionally strong defensive capability, extensive number of units — four cavalry units at all times, and a maximum of five religious orders.
- Weaknesses: Does not get Centralisation and is thus weak in the Imperial Era.
Armenia is one of the more oddball factions around, which sacrifices efficiency for variety. Armenia is known for its sword line, consisting of well-armoured but slower-moving medium infantry, and also has some Byzantine influence, and this is seen from its ability to train and/or spawn Akritae, which are a special skirmisher levy shared with the Byzantines. Armenia also trains four types of cavalry, as opposed to the three normally allotted to other factions: light cavalry and knights for melee support against archers, skirmisher cavalry to remove enemy cavalry, and cavalry archers which are specialised in killing infantry. In addition, Armenia also has its own unique cavalry — Aspataka Cavalry are Light Cavalry units that come into the game one age earlier than others, while Aspataka Skirmishers enjoy more efficient range and rate of fire compared to normal Javelin Cavalry. Armenia however does not have access to the Centralisation upgrade, meaning that its cavalry and infantry will be extremely inefficient during the Imperial Era, but as it will be shown later on, this handicap isn't as great as it would be thought to be.
Despite the seeming Muslim appearance of Armenian units and structures, Armenia is still nonetheless a nation wedded to Christ, (in the Castle Age, you can upgrade its Saracen-styled lancer to a European-styled knight) and this is obvious from how Lesser Armenia, also known as the Cilician kingdom, connived with the Catholics during the Crusades. Armenia suffers from being an Orthodox nation: like the Byzantines and the Russians, the final tier of stable and infantry units is not available, but this does not matter greatly given how many perks Armenia gets. Not only can it count on the support of the knightly brothers who are trained from the Nobles' Court, but it also has access to some enhanced buildings through accessing Divine Mandate: these buildings are enhanced versions of their normal versions, and have defensive capabilities, making besieging Armenian cities troublesome.
The story on Armenia thus follows a single script line: wood can be saved on buildings, which can be used to forward build stables and barracks, which in turn feeds into the Armenian infantry line. In the Castle Age, composite bowmen and azats can be fielded to break down enemy infantry, accompanied by its diverse number of cavalry units. Armenian buildings also can function as static point defences in an offensive manner: use the Eununchs' Court to hinder enemy troop movements, and spew forth mercenaries. The best mercenaries on hire for the Armenians would be Camel Archers, Freelancers and Genoese Crossbowmen, which will shore up Armenia's inherent weaknesses in the Imperial Era ... , and Composite Bowmen, while not very effective against archers, are still just as effective as they would be against heavy infantry, while Azats can be used to kill off enemy archers. Allies and diplomacy are vital for the Armenians: good factions to be allied with would be Portugal, whose technological prowess can be used to shore up what vulnerabilities the Armenians have, and wealth-producing nations such as Japan, Burgundy or Venice, which can then be used to recruit mercenaries and chivalric orders to stiffen Armenian resistance.
- Highly defensive faction with a somewhat technologically backward but varied army with the addition of chivalric orders.
- Azat So? — Azats, although slower on foot, are fairly tough warriors that can be used to hold lines, even in the face of enemy archer fire.
- Snuff Powder — With so much wood saved from construction and potential gains from buildings sped up Armenia is better suited for spamming archers and siege machines, rather than gunpowder units. Yet this should not be a deterrent for matchlock-mad players. If you need units in a jiffy, go for arquebusiers and culverins instead of springalds and crossbows.
- Bank Book and Cheque — Do not neglect your taxation dues, trade and universities: you need wealth and knowledge to create chivalric orders and your unique units.
Leaders: Ashot the Valiant; Hetum; Roupen; Oshin; Levon; Gosdantin; Gagik; Smbat the Conqueror
Settlements: Ani; Tarsus; Kars; Sis; Alexandretta; Shirakavan; Dvin; Gaban; Lampron; Ejmiatsin; Bargas; Adana; Mamistra; Karkara; Mut; Mokhbund; Lajazzo; Utik; Zephyrium; Edessa; Artsakh; Khachin; Manzikert; Trapessac; Cocyros; Hromkla; Armavir; Kafan; Gyumri; Antiochia Mikra; Manes; Lamas; Anazarba; Istibulagh; Yerevan
Best age: Dark and Castle
The oldest faction in Rise of Kings, Armenia is a mountain nation strategically located in the Caucasus, controlling the mountain passes between Asia and Europe. This nation, called Greater Armenia, had its origins in the Arsacids and enjoyed close relations with the Romans and their Hellenic descendents, the Byzantines, and even played a crucial role in the Crusades and the Mongol invasions of the West. At its height in 1000 AD, the Armenian kingdom covered parts of present-day Turkey and Syria and completely engulfed Lake Van. However, court intrigues and external pressures would soon result in the destruction of the nation at the hands of the Byzantines. Ethnic Armenians would then found another state on the shores of present-day Turkey, and became a key player in Levantine politics, but by the beginning of the 16th century, this smaller kingdom was soon divided among the Turks and the nascent Safavid sultanate in Iran.
Lords of The Mountains
At the onset of the 9th century, the kingdom of Armenia had been in existence for almost a thousand years, although it would often have changed hands between different ruling houses, and would on and off be a part of this or that empire, albeit it would always remain mostly autonomous. It had been under the control of the Muslim Rashidin and the Umayyad caliphates, but with the weakening of the latter, the Bagratid noble family under its lord Ashot eventually took the opportunity to overthrow Arab rule and after a short war, began consolidating the other noble families in Armenia under Bagratid rule. Armenia would remain free for two centuries, depending greatly on the skill of Ashot and his successors in playing off the Saracens and Byzantines against one another. The ruins of Ani (near present-day Kars in modern Turkey), the capital of this state from the onset of the 10th century, attest to a period of peace and prosperity for Armenia during the rule of the Bagratids.
However, as a small nation, it was clear that sooner or later Armenia would fall under the influence of greater powers in the region, and the strategic location of Armenia, bordering Syria and Iran, would ensure that it would always never leave the attention of its neighbours. Byzantine and Saracen alike would weaken the Armenian nation by influencing the local noble families to feud with one another, and this weakened the nation as a whole. The Byzantines, sensing easy prey, attacked in 1045, seizing Ani and razing it to the ground, followed by the Selcuk Turks who then conquered all that was left. The last king of Ani, Gagik II was exiled and later murdered to prevent rebellion in Armenia, and his people, in the face of predation by the Byzantines and the Turks, were soon scattered throughout Europe and Asia.
Despite being now part of the Byzantine empire, the Armenians still managed to thrive, with Armenians divided into those serving the Christian Byzantine occupiers, while others found service in the courts of sultans in the Middle East. It, however, fell to the former to found a colony in Cilicia, also known as Little Armenia, in the southeast of present-day Turkey, based around a pre-existing enclave of Armenians dating from pre-Christian days. There, they soon declared independence under their prince Roupen in 1080 when troubles in the Byzantine Empire began to emerge.
The Kingdom of Cilicia: The RoupenidsRoupen's kingdom thrived and although it would contract in size after the 14th century, would remain mostly independent for more than four centuries. The rise of Armenian Cilicia can be explained by several factors. First was the geography of the area: it was a wise choice to set up a new kingdom, securely ensconced in the Taurus mountains while being near the strategically significant trade routes that led north into the Caucasus and south to the Levant. Protected by mountains and a string of strategically built castles, Armenian Cilicia in its heyday was a culturally cosmopolitan kingdom, although over time it became increasingly Frenchified in culture given its proximity to the Latin Kingdoms established in the wake of the Fourth Crusade.
At the same time, the Armenians were delivered from eventual reabsorption due to the changing politics of the world by two events: the Crusades and the appearance of the Mongols in the Middle East. Once European princes arrived in the Middle East to liberate Palestine, the Cilicians saw their chance, and established diplomatic relations with the newcomers, as well as assisting them and the Crusader States that would be established throughout the Levant. Indeed, Armenian help was so highly prized that the state itself obtained its own European-styled coat of arms (a red lion on either a white or yellow field), had its children intermarry with the Frankish colonists in the Levant, and even gained recognition from the Pope. This had the effect of ensuring that the Byzantines would never dare attack them.
However, that left out the Muslims, who although bloodied by the Crusaders were never truly defeated and continued to menace the kingdom. This was averted with the arrival of the Mongols under Hulagu in Iraq. Seeing the light, the Armenian king Hetum made entreaties and relations were soon opened between Cilicia and the Mongols in 1254. Hetum himself soon also became chief advisor to the Mongols on their dealings with other Christian sovereigns, and along with the rulers of Kartvelia (also known as Georgia), became the staunchest Christian allies of the Mongols.
"And the Mountains will be like Carded Wool"
Ultimately, though, the reasons for Cilicia's success would soon result in her downfall. Once Europe lost all interest in crusading and Mongol power was forever broken, the destruction of Cilician Armenia would then be guaranteed.
The alliance with the Mongols, although it helped Armenia in the short run, soon meant that it soon found mortal enemies among its Arab Muslim neighbours. Chief among these foes were the Fatimids of Egypt, who were related in blood to the Abbasid caliphs and thus sought to avenge themselves upon the people who slew the caliph al-Musta'sim in 1258, and the Mamluks and the Armenians were at war with one another. A severe defeat of an Armeno-Mongol force at Homs soon meant that the Egyptians could impose harsh terms, and a punitive peace treaty was signed in 1281, stripping Cilicia of a great deal of territory.