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Papal hand infantry that protects nearby allies by absorbing some of the inflicted damage. Can hook enemies with his halberd to slow them down.
—In-game description

The Papal Guard is an infantry unit in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean that is unique to the Italians.


The Papal Guard is a melee heavy infantry unit which performs the role of an early Halberdier. It is effective against cavalry and Shock Infantry, but vulnerable against Skirmishers and artillery.

Papal Guards have less attack and Line of Sight than Halberdiers, but they are trained in batches of seven at the Basilica for 300 food, 300 wood, and 300 coin, which take 60 seconds to train. However, Papal Guards are queued as shipments, so any other Home City Cards that the player has sent before will arrive first, but in exchange, these batches do not require the player to have available shipments to train them.

Although not being equally effective as the Halberdier, the Papal Guard has the Deflection passive ability, which allows it to absorb some of the damage inflicted to nearby player or ally units in a radius of 12, making it a effective support infantry unit. However, it is recommended to combine Papal Guards with Hussars to defeat long-ranged infantry units (like Skirmishers) or artillery units, which can counter heavy infantry.

Special abilities[]

  • Passive halberd hook.png Halberd Attack (automatically activated when attacking with a cooldown of 60 seconds): The Papal Guard attacks the enemy with his halberd, which deals 13 damage (45.5 against Cavalry, 32.5 against Shock Infantry), has a range of 2 and snares the enemy.
  • Ability pistol attack.png Pistol Attack (requires the Papal Arsenal shipment): The Papal Guard fires a pistol which deals 26 damage (91 against Cavalry, 65 against Shock Infantry) and has a maximum range of 12.


The Papal Guard is automatically upgraded in the Fortress Age, Industrial Age and Imperial Age, but its name is not changed to reflect this.

Fortress age up.png +20% hit points and attack.
Industrial age up.png +30% hit points and attack.
Imperial age up.png +50% hit points and attack.


Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Cavalry, shock infantry
Weak vs. Archers, artillery

Home City Cards[]

  • Green: TEAM Shipment that is sent to each player in a team
  • Blue: Shipment that arrives fast (5 seconds)


Card Description Age HC level
Dutch Home City 2 (Infantry Hitpoints).png TEAM Infantry Hitpoints Infantry get +15% hit points
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Iroquois Home City 2 (Scout Infantry).png TEAM Scout Infantry Infantry get +8 LOS
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age
Inca Home City 2 (TEAM Inca Bridges).png TEAM Inca Bridges Infantry and civilian units get +5% speed; +1 Chasqui
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Shivajis tactics.png TEAM Shivaji's Tactics All units get +5% hit points and attack
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png


Card Description Age
Spanish Home City 3 (Fencing School).png Fencing School Infantry train time -40%
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Iroquois Home City 2 (Infantry Hitpoints).png Infantry Hitpoints Infantry get +15% hit points
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Italian Home City 2 (Schiavoni Swords).png Schiavoni Swords All cavalry and infantry get +15% hand attack
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Italian Home City 3 (Papal Arsenal).png Papal Arsenal Basilica shipments arrive 33% faster; Papal Bombards get the 'Holy Fire' action, Papal Guards get the 'Pistol Attack' action, Papal Lancers get the 'Lance Charge' action and Papal Zouaves get the 'Carbine Attack' action
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Italian Home City 5 (Papal Company).png Papal Company Ships 18 Papal Guards and 3 Papal Bombards; costs 1,000 food, 1,000 wood, 1,000 coin
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age
Maltese Home City 2 (TEAM Knights of the Round Table).png TEAM Knights of the Round Table Ships 1 Hospitaller for each Center owned by the player; increases all unit hit points by 2%
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age
Mexico card TEAM Mariachi.png TEAM Mariachi For the next 30 seconds, military buildings have their work rate increased by 400% and units have their speed increased by 10%
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Spanish Home City 1 (Hand Infantry Attack).png TEAM Hand Infantry Attack Melee infantry get +15% attack
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Spanish Home City 3 (Inquisition).png TEAM Inquisition All units get +10 LOS
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age
Swedish Home City 2 (TEAM House of Bernadotte).png TEAM House of Bernadotte Heavy infantry get +15% hit points
Age II tech tree aoe3.png

In-game dialogue[]

The Papal Guard speaks Zürich German using the Swiss Pikeman's dialogue files.


Knights of the Mediterranean[]

  • Originally, Papal Guards had a 3.0 multiplier vs. cavalry. With update 13.10442, they have a 3.5 multiplier vs. cavalry.


  • Although the real-life Papal Swiss Guard works as a mercenary army, the in-game unit is not tagged as such.


During the late medieval period, the Swiss Confederacy rose to international fame due to its adept use of polearm tactics on difficult terrain to crush invading enemy armies such as those of the Duchy of Burgundy. This reputation caused neighboring regions to enlist them as mercenaries – one such being the Papacy, which hired its first regiment in 1506. After the conclusion of the Italian War of 1551-1559, the Swiss Papal Guard was relegated from field service to become a personal bodyguard of the Pope in Rome – a decision borne partially out of the desire to preserve these valuable troops, and also owing to their outstanding record in military service. Five centuries later, the Swiss Papal Guard remains the bodyguard of the Pope.


v  d  e
Military units in Age of Empires III
AOE3Icon.png Age of Empires III
CommonExplorer · Militiaman · Pikeman · Musketeer · Crossbowman · Skirmisher · Halberdier · Grenadier · Hussar · Dragoon · Cavalry Archer · Falconet · Culverin · Mortar · Heavy Cannon · Caravel · Galleon · Frigate · Monitor
Flag BritishDE.png BritishLongbowman · Ranger** · Rocket
Flag DutchDE.png DutchRuyter · Fluyt
Flag FrenchDE.png FrenchCuirassier
Flag GermanDE.png GermansDoppelsoldner · Uhlan · War Wagon
Flag OttomanDE.png OttomansJanissary · Nizam Fusilier** · Abus Gun · Great Bombard · Galley · Spahi
Flag PortugueseDE.png PortugueseCassador · Organ Gun
Flag RussianDE.png RussiansStrelet · Cossack · Oprichnik
Flag SpanishDE.png SpanishRodelero · Lancer
WarchiefsIcon.png The WarChiefs
CommonWarrior · Canoe · War Canoe · Ironclad · Horse Artillery · Petard · Spy
Flag AztecDE.png AztecsAztec War Chief · Coyote Runner · Otontin Slinger · Puma Spearman · Arrow Knight · Eagle Runner Knight · Jaguar Prowl Knight · Warrior Priest · Skull Knight · Tlaloc Canoe
Flag IroquoisDE.png HaudenosauneeHaudenosaunee War Chief · Aenna · Tomahawk · Forest Prowler · Kanya Horseman · Musket Rider · Ram · Mantlet · Light Cannon
Flag SiouxDE.png LakotaLakota War Chief · Cetan Bowman · Club Warrior · Wakina Rifle · Axe Rider · Bow Rider · Rifle Rider · Tashunke Prowler · Tokala Soldier
Revolution.png RevolutionRevolutionary · Gatling Gun
DynastiesIcon.png The Asian Dynasties
Flag ChineseDE.png ChineseShaolin Master · Disciple · Sentry · Irregular · Chu Ko Nu · Qiang Pikeman · Changdao Swordsman · Arquebusier · Steppe Rider · Keshik · Iron Flail · Meteor Hammer · Flamethrower · Hand Mortar · Flying Crow · Fire Junk · War Junk · Fuchuan
Flag IndianDE.png IndiansBrahmin · Sentry · Irregular · Rajput · Sepoy · Gurkha · Urumi Swordsman · Sowar · Zamburak · Mahout Lancer · Howdah · Flail Elephant · Siege Elephant
Flag JapaneseDE.png JapaneseSohei Archer · Sentry · Irregular · Samurai · Ashigaru Musketeer · Yumi Archer · Naginata Rider · Yabusame · Flaming Arrow · Morutaru · Daimyo · Shogun Tokugawa · Yamabushi · Shinobi · Fune · Atakabune · Tekkousen
Age3DE Icon.png Definitive Edition
CommonCaptured Mortar · General · Sloop · Steamer · Battleship
Flag IncanDE.png IncasInca War Chief · Plumed Spearman · Chimu Runner · Jungle Bowman · Bolas Warrior · Huaraca · Maceman · Chincha Raft
Flag SwedishDE.png SwedesCarolean · Hakkapelit · Leather Cannon
Flag American act3 aoe3de.png United StatesMinuteman · State Militia · Regular · Sharpshooter · Carbine Cavalry · Gatling Gun · Quaker Gun · Gunslinger · Cowboy · Owlhoot
Flag MexicanDE.png MexicansPadre · Insurgente · Soldado · Salteador · Chinaco · Desperado · Cuatrero · Bandido
Revolution.png RevolutionBarbary Warrior · Californio · Cetbang Cannon · Corsair Marksman · Cowboy · Cruzob Infantry · Cuerudo · Filibuster · Gaucho · Jagunço · Javanese Spearman · Llanero · Morochuco · Mounted Granadero · Revolutionary Sharpshooter · Trek Wagon
The African Royals
CommonLevied Spearman · Levied Bowman · Levied Gunner · Javelin Rider · Desert Warrior · Desert Raider · Desert Archer · Battle Canoe · Cannon Boat
Flag Ethiopian aoe3de.png EthiopiansRas · Gascenya · Neftenya · Shotel Warrior · Oromo Warrior · Sebastopol Mortar · War Dhow
Flag Hausa.png HausaEmir · Fulani Archer · Maigadi · Raider · Lifidi Knight · Xebec
Knights of the Mediterranean
Flag ItalianDE.png ItaliansArchitect · Pavisier · Bersagliere · Schiavone · Papal Guard · Papal Lancer · Papal Zouave · Papal Bombard · Galleass · Leonardo's Tank
Flag MalteseDE.png MalteseGrand Master · Hospitaller · Sentinel · Fire Thrower · Order Galley · Fire Ship
* added in The WarChiefs   ** in the Definitive Edition