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This article is about the re-release of Age of Empires and the expansion of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. For the expansion of Age of Empires, see The Rise of Rome.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Return of Rome is mainly a port of Age of Empires content into the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition client. It was released on May 16th 2023, implemented with update 83607. It adds content in the form of civilizations for both games, serving as a joint expansion. Hence Return of Rome is:

  • the second expansion of Age of Empires
  • the fourth expansion of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • and the ninth expansion of Age of Empires II

Since this expansion brings Age of Empires into Age of Empires II, and Age of Empires II is already playable on Xbox, this expansion also launches Age of Empires on Xbox.

Information timeline[]

Toggle information timeline

  • It was announced on October 25th 2022, on the 25th Anniversary of Age of Empires.
  • Players will be able to switch to Return of Rome in the Age of Empire II's main screen and take on fresh challenges.[1]
  • Its release date May 16th 2023 was announced on April 7th 2023.[2]
  • Its teaser was released and it was made available for pre-order on April 25th 2023.
  • A content creator's preview was announced on May 4th 2023, stated to be live from the same week.[3] It went live on the next day.[4]
  • The intention is "to have all the content of Age of Empires and Age of Empires II accessible to players from the same place."[5]
  • The expansion will not feature the original campaigns of Age of Empires and its previous expansions, only the three new ones added in Return of Rome.[6]
  • It was originally announced that the original campaigns of Age of Empires and its previous expansions would not feature in Return of Rome;[6] however a public poll was put up on May 19th which announced that the Ascent of Egypt, The First Punic War, and two more campaigns as per poll results would be added in the future.[7]
  • The Return of Rome section will have its own Ranked lobbies, with its own leaderboards for 1v1 and Team games.[8]
  • Information on the expansion and all new content along with a note for existing owners of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was released on May 5th 2023.[9]
  • A guide to familiarize existing and new players on how to switch between game modes, and on Age of Empires mechanics including basics of the early game, as well as new mechanics and maps, was released on May 12th 2023: Link to the guide
  • On release of the expansion, the Romans in Age of Empires II mode were playable only in singleplayer and unranked multiplayer games, and not in the ranked ladder.
  • After the public poll, it was confirmed on June 6th that the Ascent of Egypt, The First Punic War, Glory of Greece, and Voices of Babylon campaigns would be added in future updates.[10]
  • Due to popular appeal, the Romans in Age of Empires II mode were made available on the ranked ladder after rebalancing the civilization in update 87863, released on June 28th, 2023.

New content for Age of Empires[]


AoE Return of Rome civ crests

Civilization crests, similar to civilization icons of Age of Empires II






The expansion features three new campaigns:

  • RoR Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (Sumerians) - An unlikely man rises to power in the city-states of Mesopotamia: Sargon is a simple cupbearer to the king, but everything changes when the war goddess Ishtar appears in his dreams. Under her guidance, Sargon leads the quarreling Sumerians into a new age, but the appealing nature of power forces him to choose between his divine destiny and his personal ambition. In this campaign, you will play as the Sumerians.
  • RoR Pyrrhus of Epirus Pyrrhus of Epirus (Macedonians) - As the Wars of the Diadochi saw Alexander the Great's successors throw the Greek world into chaos, Pyrrhus of Epirus began as a small player among titans. Will he become worthy of the legendary Hannibal Barca's judgment of him – a renowned general of the age – or will his constant uphill struggle prove insurmountable? In this campaign, you will play as the Macedonians.
  • RoR Trajan Trajan (Romans) - Marcus Ulpius Trajanus climbed the ranks of the legions while the Emperor Domitian's tyrannical rule tarnished the Roman Empire's glory. When circumstance elevates him to the throne as Emperor Trajan, he inherits a realm on the brink of disaster. Will resourcefulness, virtue, and military might be enough to save Rome and lead it to its historical zenith, or will the Roman Empire collapse four centuries before its time? In this campaign, you will play as the Romans.

New content for Age of Empires II[]


Architecture set Civilization
Mediterranean Romans AoE2 Romans
  • Romans: Rise to the throne of an empire dominating the Mediterranean Sea and defend your borders against countless barbarian invasions. The Roman unique units are the Legionary, a sturdy infantry unit, and the Centurion, a heavy cavalry unit that increases the power of nearby Militia-line units.


Unique units[]

Aoe2de unique units ror

Regional unit[]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.



  • "Return of Rome" is a reference to The Rise of Rome, the expansion to the very first Age of Empires as well as to Age of Empires II's tag line "Rome has fallen and the World is up for grabs" on the back of The Age of Kings's box. It may also be a reference to Rome Returns, an Age of Empires II mod, which also incorporates content from Age of Empires.
  • The Return of Rome cover is similar to the Age of Empires cover, but with a Roman Centurion instead of a Greek Hoplite.
  • The newly introduced civilization Lac Viet is the first civilization for Age of Empires that has more than one word in its name, and one of few in the entire franchise. It was preceded by the United States in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, and by the Abbasid Dynasty, Delhi Sultanate, and Holy Roman Empire in Age of Empires IV.
  • Lac Viet was added as a way to honor the continued popularity of Age of Empires, most especially The Rise of Rome, in Vietnam, where the game has had an enduring competitive scene.
  • The launch of the expansion is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the The Rise of Rome expansion (launched in 1998, one year before The Age of Kings).
  • Initially, the Romans civilization added to Age of Empires II will not be available in ranked, and only playable in singleplayer modes and unranked lobby games. But they will be made available in ranked in a future update.[9] However, they were made available to content creators in ranked play in the creator preview.
  • This is the only expansion to introduce a new civilization to two different Age of Empires games.
  • Return of Rome is codenamed Pompeii. However, unlike other releases, the actual name was known prior to the codename which was not known until release.
  • This is the first Age of Empires II expansion to not feature a new Age of Empires II campaign.
  • The expansion icon is a Galea.




Age of Empires
Main series
ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of EmpiresRomeIcon The Rise of Rome
Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition
AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Return of Rome
AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires IIAoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors
Aoe2 hb HD Edition: AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten · AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms · AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas
AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition (AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last Khans) : AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West · Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes · AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India · AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome · AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals · Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished
Aom original icon Age of MythologyAoM The Titans icon The Titans
AoM Extended icon Extended Edition: AoM Extended icon Tale of the Dragon
AoMIcon-Retold Retold
3Icon48px Age of Empires III3WCIcon48px The WarChiefs · 3ADIcon48px The Asian Dynasties
Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition: AoE3 USA DLC USA DLC · Age3DE Icon The African Royals · AoE3 Mexico DLC Mexican DLC · Age3DE Icon Knights of the Mediterranean
GameIcon-AoE4 Age of Empires IVAnniversary Edition · The Sultans Ascend
Other games
Age of Empires Online Age of Empires Online · Age of Empires Castle Siege logo Age of Empires: Castle Siege
HandheldAoe2DSicon Age of Empires: The Age of Kings · AoMDSicon Age of Empires: Mythologies
MobileAge of Empires II Mobile (Deluxe) · Age of Empires III Mobile · Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Mobile · Age of Empires - World Domination logo Age of Empires: World Domination · AoE Mobile new icon Age of Empires Mobile
TabletopAge of Empires: Expandable Card Game · Age of Mythology: The Boardgame · Glenn Drover's Empires: The Age of Discovery