Barbarossa's March is the fifth scenario in the Barbarossa campaign, in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. It is based on Barbarossa's ill-fated expedition to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade (1189-1192), which culminated with his drowning at the Saleph River in Anatolia on June 10, 1190.

Intro[edit | edit source]

The Holy Roman Empire was complete and, for the moment, both Germany and Italy swore fealty to Barbarossa. Alas, the peace was not to endure.

The Crusader states in Palestine were crumbling. A Saracen king named Saladin had evicted virtually every Crusader from their castle. The Pope called for a new Crusade, before the Holy Land became Saracen once again.

Remarkably, Barbarossa agreed to undertake this new Crusade for the pope he had fought so hard against. King Philip of France and England's Richard the Lionhearted had already boarded ships bound for the Middle East.

But Barbarossa's army was the largest by far, and there wasn't a fleet in Europe that could transport it.

The emperor would have to march overland, to Constantinople and through the land of the Turks to reach the rendezvous in Jerusalem.

Constantinople was the capitol of the Byzantine Empire and one of the most glorious cities on the globe. Barbarossa's army would be able to rest and resupply in Byzantium before it began the great march.

Scenario instructions[edit | edit source]

Starting conditions[edit | edit source]

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • At least 10 troops must survive to reach the Hospitaller camp.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • There are a few safe places to land along the Anatolian peninsula.
  • Directly across from Constantinople is one of the safest landings.
  • Do not destroy any enemy ships you might not use—you are going to be unable to build your own. There will be many hazards along the journey. You may need to rely on new recruits in the surrounding areas to help replenish your war-beaten forces.
  • Advance slowly, scout ahead and protect your siege weapons and Monks.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

  • Player (Teutons): The player starts with the starting army in the very northern corner of the map.

Allies → Enemies → Allies[edit | edit source]

  • Constantinople (Byzantines): Constantinople lies in a central-northern position on the map, mostly surrounded by water. They have a huge fleet at their disposal, as well as some Cataphracts, Onagers, and Pikemen. They change their diplomatic stance to the player to enemy and attack when they approach the gates of Constantinople. They change their stance back to ally if units are stationed next to the Hagia Sofia (Wonder) and give the player their entire navy in that case.

Allies[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Barbarossa must sail across the Sea of Marmara to reach the Hospitaller camp in the south. At least 10 military units must make it. He must threaten Constantinople (blue/Byzantines) who change their diplomacy to enemy once the player gets close to them in order to use its navy by stationing forces near the Wonder.

Although the scenario presents Gallipoli as an alternative option to invading Constantinople, this option is extremely risky, since the sea between Anatolia and Europe is infested with the Saracen Navy's warships. Gallipoli won't put up a fight, but the lack of warships to protect the player's transport ships makes this option virtually untenable.

As such, laying siege to Constantinople is the safer and more efficient of the two choices.

As the player's units cross the sea, they can find Throwing Axemen and a Trebuchet shipwrecked and as they land, the Seljuks will attack and have Cavalry Archers and Onagers and Monks to be stolen from the player. As the player's forces get closer, an Earthquake destroys the Seljuk walls and some of their units as well. It should be noted that there are no Villagers available to the player.

This is a very hard scenario, so use all troops with extreme care. The only way to get Constantinople back to the player's ally is to place troops near their Wonder. One may change diplomatic stance with Gallipoli to Neutral and convert their Pikemen if the player is running out of soldiers.

It is imperative to keep the Siege Onagers or Trebuchet in one piece, because there is no direct way from the Sea of Marmara to the Hospitallers camp so they will be needed to knock down some trees to get there. There are two other ways to get more men from tributes. There are Throwing Axemen and a Trebuchet stranded on a deserted island to the south, but the player will have to go through Guard Towers to get there. Another way is on the way to the Hospitallers camp; while the player's forces are in the Holy Land, four Seljiuk Heavy Cavalry Archers will join the player's forces. They can be found to the east.

One of the easier ways to get the army across the Sea of Marmara is to remain allies with both Gallipoli and Constantinople. Send a soldier to Gallipoli. They will give the player all of their transport ships. The entire enemy navy will sail to the Gallipoli and destroy these ships. While they are doing that, invade Constantinople quickly and board their transport ships. The enemy navy will be out of position and the player should be able to undock on the other side.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Starting the game, the player has an army of 70 men but no Villagers. They must take the route to the south, where they will find a river, guarded by a Saracen Galleon. The player can use Paladins to tank the shots, and a Monk to destroy it. The Monks, alongside the Trebuchets and Paladins, are the only combat units vital to this scenario. The rest are expendable, but should not need to come under any danger following this guide.

When passing the river, the player will come across some Saracen Mamelukes destroying a House. If the player leads with Teutonic Knights, losses should hopefully be minimal. Or station the Crossbowmen on a nearby hill and use Paladins to fight under covering fire. When this ends, move towards the south. 

Attacking Constantinople[edit | edit source]

In the path to Constantinople, the player will encounter many Outposts and eventually, the walls of Constantinople, with double fortification and eight very powerful Bombard Towers. The Byzantine Emperor automatically changes diplomatic stance to Enemy, and it seems as though the player must fight through the walls and fend off the stationed Byzantine troops. An alternate and simpler strategy is to run a Paladin or two down south to Gallipoli. Use a transport to hug the coastline and sail across to Constantinople. Once the Paladins near the Hagia Sophia the Byzantine navy will be granted to the player.

Use the warships to clear a swathe across the sea. Be cautious as Demolition Ships can do great damage to the player's forces. Once the route is clear, the army may move across. Unload on the north-eastern most beach. 

Fighting the Seljuks [edit | edit source]

After reaching the Anatolian beach, only one enemy will face the player, the Seljuks.There are two routes through the desert to reach the camp, but the easiest and most rewarding path is along the eastern edge of the map, and grants the player four Heavy Cavalry Archers, and multiple Onagers are gained by destroying a Castle with the Trebuchets. The only major nuisance the player will face are a few trees (Onagers can cut through them), a few Wolves (Onagers can destroy them), and some Bombards (Paladins can outrun their shots and tank the damage even if hit). The other route is shorter and quicker but the player will face heavy resistance. Taking the longer path, it is very easy to reach the camp with over 70 troops.

To beat this scenario, select all soldiers and then right click the Castle, or alternatively press the Garrison hotkey and then the Castle.

Outro[edit | edit source]

Barbarossa's weary army had marched for hundreds of miles through the cracked mountains in the heat of July. So when it stumbled upon the Göksu River, the men were astonished and grateful. Barbarossa himself could not resist plunging into the cold water without even pausing to remove his armor.

To the disbelief of the surviving troops, Barbarossa drowned.

Some said the emperor could not swim in his plate armor. Others believed his sixty-seven-year-old heart had finally given out. Regardless of the exact cause of death, Barbarossa's Crusade ended there, on June 10, 1190. The Holy Roman Emperor was gone.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Historical comparison[edit | edit source]

  • Barbarossa was the only monarch of the Third Crusade that took the overland route to the Holy Land. Philip II Augustus of France and Richard the Lionheart hired Genoese fleets.
  • His army is believed the largest assembled for the Crusade and was the most feared by Saladin, though estimates vary wildly from 12,000 to 100,000 men. Most deserted for home after his death, leaving only 5,000 to join the Siege of Acre.
  • Barbarossa was joined by 2,000 Magyars while crossing Hungary, led by the King's brother, Géza.
  • Though decadent, the state of the Byzantine Empire at the time was not nearly as decrepit as in the scenario. It still included most of the Balkans and western Anatolia.
    • However, the presence of Saracen forces in the Balkans and the Straits can be explained as stand-ins for Saladin negotiating with Emperor Isaac II Angelos to not allow Barbarossa's passage, as well as sending troops to Saladin's own northern territories to intercept him.
  • Historically, Barbarossa gained passage after defeating the Byzantines at Philippopolis (one of the cities portrayed in The Walls of Constantinople), rather than attacking Constantinople itself, although he really was ferried to Asia from the latter.
  • While in the Byzantine Empire, Barbarossa and Isaac II refused to meet each other and communicated only by letter. They felt mutually insulted by the other's reluctance to address him as "Emperor of the Romans".
  • The Hospitaller castle is likely a reference to Silifke Castle near the river where Barbarossa drowned. However, the castle was owned at the time by Leo I of Armenia. He gave it to the Hospitallers in 1210.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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