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This article is about the scenario in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. For the scenario in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, see Arrival at Bari.

Arrival at Bari is the first scenario of the reworked Bari campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It condenses the five year campaign by Frankish emperor Louis II against the short-lived Emirate of Bari across 866 to 871. The campaign received aid and naval support from the Byzantines.


I left the walls drenched in the sweat and blood of the tenacious Norman besiegers. My comrades and I usually would rush straight to the inn after a fight—but not today. My father, the heroic Michael Nautikos, savior of Bari, awaited me.

I found the wizened old man staring out the window towards the enemy camp. "Foul, treacherous mercenary scum! Son, the inhabitants of this peninsula have courted mercenaries for centuries. Not one bit of good it did them!"

Weary of discussing Normans, whose nature I knew all too well, I inquired about our rich family heritage. I asked my father instead to tell me of our ancestor Panos.

My father spun around, his eyes gleaming."You wish to hear the story of the family? Our Greek blood runs back generations! Nautikos, our surname—it is so because we came as sailors.

In the year 869, the knight Panos Nautikos answered the summons of his Byzantine liege, Emperor Basil II. He was to lead a force by sea to aid our ally Louis II, the Frankish king, against the Emirate of Bari."

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On Standard, the player begins with Murder Holes researched and a Relic will spawn near the landing area. Emperor Louis II will train Halberdiers instead of Pikemen. There will also be less troops guarding Oria.
  • On Hard, the troops guarding Oria will be much stronger.


  • Wait for instructions from Emperor Louis II.


  • Ensure that the siege of Bari is not broken.
  • Destroy the Docks in Bari to prevent supplies from reaching the city.
  • Clear the countryside of Saracen military camps.
  • (secondary) Capture the town of Matera by destroying its Castle.
  • (secondary) Liberate the town of Oria by killing the Saracens defending it.


  1. The Byzantine forces are restricted to the Castle Age and a population limit of 125.
  2. Leave the siege of Bari to the Franks. Concentrate instead on your objectives, but keep an eye on Emperor Louis' forces. You will lose if the Saracens succeed in wiping out your ally's siege camp.
  3. Do not hesitate to construct Fishing Ships. The ocean offers plenty of food.
  4. As with any battle, tactics are important. Use proper counter units when possible. Pikemen are more effective against cavalry than Crossbowmen or swordsmen, and Cataphracts are versatile troops that are especially deadly to infantry.


Your scouts report:

  • Panos Nautikos and his army (1, Purple) have arrived at the coast in the south to come to the aid of Emperor Louis II.
  • Emperor Louis II (5, Blue) is currently besieging Bari (2, Red), which lies to the east and is occupied by the Saracen Emirate (4, Green). Louis will train Pikemen, Crossbowmen, heavy cavalry, and swordsmen to defend his siege camp. Although he commands a disciplined army, he may occasionally rely on Byzantine help to fend off Saracen attacks.
  • The Saracen Army (3, Yellow) has erected four camps near Bari, threatening Louis' forces. The Saracens will launch attacks against both you and the Franks. Their army consists of Pikemen, Genitours, camelry, mounted archers, Light Cavalry and Knights. It is quite likely that they will also construct siege weapons such as Battering Rams.
  • Matera (6, Orange) lies to the west. The city is allied with the Saracens and will train Genoese Crossbowmen, Archers and Spearmen.
  • Oria (7, Cyan) is situated to the north. Just like Bari, it is currently controlled by a Saracen garrison but its inhabitants will surely join your side once the Saracen occupiers have been eliminated.




  • Emperor Louis II (Franks): Louis II is represented by two players - player 5 and player 8. While player 8 has four Trebuchets besieging Bari, player 5 is defending their camp with cavalry and infantry, but might soon be pressured by the Saracens. If he gets defeated, the player loses the scenario.
  • Bari (Italians): It is located in the east, occupied by a token of Emirate troops, and besieged by Emperor Louis II from the west. It plays no role in the scenario and is allied to the player so that they do not accidentally raze its buildings. Coincidentally, Louis' Trebuchets do no visible damage to its buildings. It is inaccessible by the player as all gates are locked and blocked by barricades, and the two bridges are broken. As the player defeats the Saracen Army and destroy the Emirate Docks at Bari, both gates facing Louis's army will be deleted as Louis declares his siege a success.
  • Oria (Italians): It is situated at the northern tip of the map, and guarded by the Emirate of Bari's Guard Towers, Castle and troops, which makes trading impossible at first. If the player defeats all enemy units in Oria, the towers and Castle (if standing) are given to the player and trade is made possible. They will spawn Villagers working on Farms and will tribute resources regularly.

Enemy, potential Ally[]

  • Matera (Italians): It is located in the west of the map and to the northwest of the player's position, defending with Genoese Crossbowmen and Spearmen. If the player manages to destroy the Castle in the northwest of the settlement, Matera will allow trade and will start paying tributes to the player.


  • Saracen Army (Berbers): There are four camps dotting the map. Destroying them all is a primary objective. However, converting them is also valid (despite not contributing to the camp destruction countdown). Each camp consists of production buildings and Guard Towers. The camps will train Camel Riders, Cavalry Archers, Battering Rams, Light Cavalry, Knights, and Genitours.
  • Emirate of Bari (Saracens): They are concentrated in the southern part of Bari, but have troops and defensive buildings in both Oria and Matera. The player has to destroy their Docks to win.


The player starts with five Villagers and a small army of Pikemen, Swordsmen, and Crossbowmen. The player will want to eliminate the four Saracen camps as quickly as possible once they reach the Castle Age. Use Fishing Ships to collect food faster. The Emirate's ships will never attack unprovoked (even on Hard difficulty), so do not worry about destroying the Emirate's Docks until the four Saracen camps are destroyed.

The player can guard the Frank ally by building a Castle in their base. The Saracens' attacks are mostly harmless to the Castle, provided Murder Holes is researched. The Saracens' rams are the only real threat to it, but those can be easily dealt with the player's melee units. The Saracen Army may attack the player's base sometimes, so it is advisable to build a Castle there as well.

Use a combination of Camel Riders, Pikemen, and Elite Skirmishers to eliminate their Cavalry Archers, Knights, and Camel Riders, and build enough Battering Rams to destroy their buildings quickly. Alternatively, the player may also choose to send Monks to convert the buildings (provided that Redemption is researched beforehand) in order to use them as forward bases. None of the Saracen camps have Castles protecting them, only towers. The player can also take advantage of Cataphracts' versatility and resistance to anti-cavalry bonuses (Pikemen's bonus is reduced from 22 to 10 and Camel Riders' bonus is completely cancelled), but at the same time, this unit's high cost needs to be taken into account. It is strongly advisable to research all useful military upgrades.

Completing the secondary objectives will give the player a small stream of Tributes from the villages. It is therefore recommended to kill the Emirate's troops in Oria, and the best way to do this is by luring their troops into the player's Castle. The player may also choose to go into offensive with Camel Riders, Pikemen, and (Elite) Skirmishers to counter the Emirate's Camel Riders and Cavalry Archers. Destroying the Castle at Matera has the same result, but it may be more trouble than it is worth, so the player can ignore that secondary objective.

Once the Saracen Army is defeated, the player is safe from any enemy attacks and can focus on destroying the Emirate's Docks to the east. The Emirate trains the three kinds of ships, so a combination of War Galleys (with Bodkin Arrow and Ballistics researched) and Fire Ships (with the Byzantine unique technology Greek Fire researched) is the best option. Do not forget to research Careening as well.

First, sink any Demolition Ships with the War Galleys and then focus on the remaining enemy ships and the Docks. Byzantine Fire Ships are quite useful at speeding up the destruction of the Docks and are less vulnerable to enemy towers than other ships, but the player should still be careful, as the Emirate may build more Demolition Ships (if the Fire Ships get too damaged, it may be advisable to retreat and repair the ships, as repairing is cheaper than building new ships).

At the end, the player will be jointly declared victory with Emperor Louis II (both players 5 and 8) and Bari.


"Panos was offered lordship of Bari after his victory, but he declined, wishing to live out his days in peace. Having brought glory to his house, he settled down and started a family."

The old man mused for a while, his memory slowed by wine. "Louis, on the other hand, ran into trouble with the Lombards. They were not fond of yet another Frankish conqueror treading on their soil."

Suddenly, a bell rang, signaling an attack and calling the city to arms. I donned my armor and rushed out the door, leaving my father to his thoughts.

Historical comparison[]

  • Emperor Louis' campaign comprised two separate sieges of Bari, and was a response to raids by the Emirate of Bari into northern Italy, then a part of the wider Carolingian Empire. The scenario draws inspiration from both sieges.
  • A Byzantine fleet was dispatched to join Louis' initial effort in 869 to stamp out the emirate's raids across the Adriatic. However, disagreements between the emperor and the Byzantine commander resulted in the Byzantines withdrawing and the failure of the first siege. The extent of the Byzantines' involvement in Louis' second, successful siege of 870-71 is less clear and likely much more minimal. Naval support was instead provided by Croatian Slavs.
    • Panos Nautikos likely takes inspiration from the Byzantine commander Niketas Ooryphas, a noted naval tactician.
  • The Byzantine emperor of the time was Basil I; however, the narrator mistakenly refers to him as Basil II, who would not become emperor for another century.
  • Matera and Oria, two towns with Lombard populations, were both captured by Louis early in his campaign against Bari. The scenario's objectives regarding these two towns reflects their historical fates: Matera resisted and was razed, while Oria welcomed the Franks.
  • The Emirate of Bari is represented by the Saracen civilization in-game, while the historical emirate was not Arabic but likely Berber. However, Islamic cultures in southern Italy were often conflated under the singular banner of "Saracen" by contemporary western sources, regardless of the accuracy of the term.