"They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night."
— Song of Solomon, 8:3
Improved versions of these warriors are available to most Catholic factions. There is one exception: Armenia, with links to the Catholic Franks, can import some of these toughened warriors to captain her armies despite being considered an "Orthodox" faction.
House of worship unitsEdit
These units generally are the runt of the chivalric orders. They do not cost a great deal, but their bonuses and abilities are often limited.
The only exception, however, is that Norse religious fanatics can be upgraded to armed clergymen.
- Militant clergy - doesn't hit hard and is very slow, but is rather tough on its own. Grants a small healing bonus to units around it.
- Religious fanatics - has a strong attack and moves very fast, but is lacking in armour and hp. Grants a small offensive boost to surrounding friendly units.
Religious fanatics can be upgraded into Stormenn, which are as powerful as the late-game Order Knights but are forced to march on foot, making them somewhat less useful as they are less mobile as a result.
Nobles' court unitsEdit
Nobles' court chivalric order units, recruitable by Catholic factions mostly, are different from their less well-endowed cousins from the house of worship. They have better armour and hitpoints, and possibly a better attack (thus making them excellent for frontline duty), but have a higher cost to boot.
- Crusading infantry (see above regarding religious fanatics)
- Upgrades to Crusading knight
- Brother-Knight (see above regarding militant clergymen)
- Upgrades to Order Knight
The Norse do not receive crusaders, but instead receive a different unit: armed clergymen. These men are the upgrade of the offensive-minded religious fanatic and are available only with sufficient religious research.
These are basically crusader knights which have better armour and a larger radius. Unlike the other units, these men are armed with maces - since their religious tenets forbid the shedding of blood.
While warrior clergymen are powerful on their own, the radius of their influence and their cost means that they are better off escorting your other units.
- Religious fanatics, crusader orders and armed clergymen have fast movement, powerful attack at the cost of lower hitpoints and armour. While they are useful for quick strikes, their main purpose however is to inspire units, improving the attack of units in their radius - they are highly subceptible to missile fire and assassins.
- Militant clergy and holy order units are the reverse of religious fanatics: they are slow, but with good armour and the ability to heal units. Although they have relatively poor attack given that they are given to using warhammers, they are able to hold a line as a last-ditch effort to screen your archers or weaker units, and to prop up the same.
- Quantum of Religious Solace — Chivalric order units are dependent on age research and religious research. To create religious fanatics and militant clergy from your House of Worship, only Religion Tier 1 (Monotheism) is necessary, while the others are trained from your Nobles' Court and require more research to be created/upgraded.
- With Greater Power Comes Greater Responsibility — Religious fanatics and militant clergy are the cheapest units, but their powers and combat prowess are questionable, while the holy orders and crusaders are better, but become costlier and harder to create with each successive upgrade. Thus, despite being powerful units even capable of replacing generals, they are hard to replace and must be watched over at all times.
- Viking Outfit — the Scandinavian factions - Denmark and Sweden - do not train Crusaders, but instead get to upgrade religious fanatics to armed clergymen. These units are the equivalent of crusader knights, except in that they are trained from a House of Worship, and have a better radius than normal crusader units, thus making them more dangerous: the Swedish have a flair for summoning these hardened men of the Cloth to join in combat for both Cross and Crown!
Until the 1500s, Europe was a dangerous place. Civil war was rampant, as kings struggled with the nobility for control of their lands, resulting in social upheavel and chaos. Despite prohibitions to take lives, it was becoming clear to the more pragmatic of laity and clergymen alike that the exercise of arms was necessary in providing security in order to discharge their own duties. Thus, the first chivalric orders were born. The Scandinavian armed clergymen represent the laymen nobility who took up vows, or religious officials who had to take up arms in order to protect their people.
In the Mediaeval Era, Catholic Europe confronted other faiths: Islam in Spain and the Middle East, and pagans and Orthodox Russians in the Baltic, laying the impetus for "chivalric orders", military organisations which although staffed by lay warriors were often affiliated with the Church for the defence of the faith. At the height of the Christian Crusades into the Holy Land, German crusaders formed an order of warrior monks called the Teutonic Knights. This order gave up crusading in the Eastern Mediterranean and turned its attention to Eastern Europe. Through conquest they brought Christianity to the Baltic region and forests of what became Prussia and carved out an empire that lasted into the twentieth century.