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Papal heavy cavalry that absorbs some of the damage inflicted to nearby allies. Counters all Infantry.
—In-game description

The Papal Lancer is a melee heavy cavalry unit in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean that is unique to the Italians.


The Papal Lancer is a melee cavalry similar to the Spanish Lancer, as being effective against all infantry units. It has twice the hit points of the Lancer, a slightly higher Line of Sight, and more attack, but takes three population spaces, moves slightly slower, and has half the multiplier against infantry.

Papal Lancers are trained at the Basilica in batches of three for 300 food, 300 wood, and 300 coin, which takes 60 seconds to train. However, these batches are queued as shipments, meaning that Home City Cards that have been sent before will arrive first, delaying Papal Lancers' training, but in exchange, players do not need to have available shipments to train them.

Despite not being as effective as Spanish Lancers in terms of attack, they can take a lot of damage due to their increased hit points and melee resistance. Unlike other Lancer-type units, they don't have negative multipliers against heavy infantry, which allows them to handle these units more easily. Additionally, Papal Lancers have the Deflection ability, which allows them to absorb some of the damage inflicted to nearby player or ally units, making them effective support units. However, they will be vulnerable against light cavalry (like Dragoons) and heavy infantry that can outnumber them easily, so it is recommended to combine Papal Lancers with ranged infantry units that counter light cavalry and heavy infantry.

Special abilities[]

  • Passive lance charge.png Lance Charge (requires the Papal Arsenal shipment): The Papal Lancer charges at the enemy with his lance, which deals 60 damage (90 against Infantry), has a range of 4 and an AOE of 4.


The Papal Lancer 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. Infantry
Weak vs. Cavalry, Shock Infantry

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
French Home City 2 (Hand Cavalry Attack).png TEAM Hand Cavalry Attack Heavy cavalry and Coyote Runners get +15% attack
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
German Home City 2 (Cavalry Attack).png TEAM Cavalry Attack The player's Heavy cavalry, light cavalry, and Shock Infantry get +15% attack; allied cavalry and Shock Infantry get +10%
Age II 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 (Riding School).png Riding School Cavalry train time -40%
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
British Home City 2 (Cavalry Combat).png Cavalry Combat Cavalry get +15% hit points and attack
Age III 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 (Broken Lance Company).png Broken Lance Company Ships 3 Papal Lancers and 1 Stradiot; costs 300 food, 300 wood, 300 coin
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Sioux Home City 2 (Mustangs).png TEAM Mustangs Cavalry costs -10%
Age III 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
Russian Home City 2 (Cavalry Scout).png TEAM Kamchatka Expeditions Cavalry and Shock Infantry get +10% hit points and +4 LOS
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Spanish Home City 3 (Inquisition).png TEAM Inquisition All units get +10 LOS
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


  • While visually similar to the Elmetto, the Papal Lancer does not have the mercenary tag.


During the late medieval and early modern periods, surplus of wealth combined with manpower shortages led the Papacy to the natural conclusion of relying on mercenaries for military strength. Some of these were drawn from the so-called lanze spezzate, individual lancer cavalrymen who were hired into mercenary companies. Papal armies were at their most powerful in the 17th century, but then gradually declined with the rise of nation-states with greater power and resources as religious influence waned.


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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