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Ransom at Ctesiphon (named Ctesiphon before the Definitive Edition) is the third scenario of the Imperium Romanum campaign in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome. The Romans must recover their treasures from bandits and deliver them to the Persian capital city of Ctesiphon.

Scenario instructions[]

Description[]

Mesopotamia, 262 CE

After a century of decline and relative dormancy, Persia has revived as a world power. The ineffectual Parthian state has been overthrown by the House of Sasan, which has formed a new dynasty and swiftly asserted its dominance over the old Parthian lands. In response to the threat that it posed to the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, Emperor Valerian set out to conquer the lands of this Sasanian Empire. After a disastrous engagement against the Persian King Shapur I near Edessa, Valerian was captured and is held prisoner in the Persian capital of Ctesiphon.

A caravan of gold and precious goods was dispatched towards Ctesiphon to ransom Valerian and ease the tension between the Romans and their Sasanian neighbors. The caravan, however, was waylaid and the ransom stolen. Parthian and Palmyran bandits still operate out of hidden enclaves in the Zagros Mountains. You are to restore order in this region, recover the ransom, and deliver it to Ctesiphon.
—In-game section

262 AD

After some 500 years of gradual recovery from Alexander's conquest and Greek rule, Persia has revived as a world power and now threatens the eastern flank of the Roman Empire. Emperor Valerian, "Restorer of the Orient", set out to conquer the Sassanids, who now rule nearly all the land between Mesopotamia and India. After a brief campaign against the Persian King Shapur I, Valerian was captured and held prisoner in the Persian capital of Ctesiphon.

A caravan of gold and precious goods was dispatched to Ctesiphon to ransom Valerian and ease tensions between the Persians and Romans. The caravan was ambushed, however, and the ransom stolen. Parthian and Palmyran bandits still hold hidden enclaves in the Zagros Mountains. You are to restore order in this area, recover the ransom, and deliver it to Ctesiphon.
—In-game section

Starting conditions[]

Objectives[]

  • Recapture the three tribute wagons (Artifacts) and deliver them to the palace (foot of the Wonder) in Ctesiphon.
  • Destroy all Palmyran and Parthian Stables.

Hints[]

  1. Building walls and towers should be your first priority. The enemy knows you are coming and is planning a surprise attack.
  • There may be a few Roman villagers in the region. Use them to help supply your forces.
  • Beware of Sassanid forces, for they will not hesitate to capture your tribute.
  • Avoid conflict-do not let anyone, including your allies, near your tribute.

Players[]

Player[]

  • Player (Romans AoE Romans): The player starts with a small force in the western edge of the map. Another force starts in the center of the map but will be killed immediately by Persian raiders.

Allies[]

  • Sasanian Empire (Sasanian before the Definitive Edition) (Persians AoE Persians): The Sasanian capital Ctesiphon is located in the eastern corner of the map. They have no economy and are entirely passive.

Enemies[]

  • Parthian Brigands (Parthian before the Definitive Edition) (Romans AoE Persians): The Persian base is located in the northern corner of the map and is well protected by cliffs, walls, and towers. The base guards the second artifact and blocks the entrance to the third
  • Palmyran Bandits (Palmyrans before the Definitive Edition) (Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans): The Palmyran base is located in the center of the map at the coast, next to the gaia units the player obtains. The base is fortified. The Palmyrans also own a navy which can be ignored.
  • Persian Raiders (Persian raider before the Definitive Edition) (Romans AoE Persians): The Persian raiders are present with several bands and a small fortress guarding an artifact. They also capture the first artifact from the player at start.

Strategy[]

You start off with a group of soldiers to the northwest, and a caravan under attack at the center of the map. The caravan will be destroyed in seconds. Take your soldiers south, until you find a Granary and three Villagers. Start building a base.

Roman Sentry Towers cost only half the original price, use this to your advantage and build lots of them, as you'll be attacked soon. Train soldiers. You'll face lots of Horse Archers, so train Cavalry to chase them down. The first Artifact  is the one in your original caravan, found at the center of the map. The second is to the far north, in the red town, and the third is found west of that, protected by brown towers.

You'll have to pass through the enemy towns to get the artifacts, so take your time and level them, so they won't bother you again. Once you acquire the Artifacts, keep them at the back of your army, with a few guards. If the artifact gets converted by your ally, you will need to kill the allied unit that converted the artifact in order to get it back. In the original non-definitive edition, the ally will not retaliate if you change diplomacy and attack his units.

History[]

Historical notes[]

The collapse of the Parthian Empire began with the campaigns of the Roman emperor Trajan, under whom the Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent in the early second century CE. Over the next hundred years, the Parthian Empire was worn down by internal instability and military humiliation at the hands of expansionist Roman emperors. For a moment, it seemed that the Romans might have succeeded in emulating the achievements of Alexander.

Starting in the early third century CE, that all changed, however. The Arsacid dynasty was overthrown by Ardashir I of the House of Sasan at Hormozdgan in 224 CE. The new Sasanian dynasty was considerably more efficient than the Parthians in virtually every sphere of governance, and its military systems were far superior as well. The greatest fear of many Romans had been realized—they now had a potent, functioning threat facing them from the East.

The rise of the Sasanian Empire coincided with a period of instability within the Roman Empire known as the Third Century Crisis. The Roman currency was devalued, sending the economy into a tailspin, the military structure decayed, and over twenty emperors ruled within a span of fifty years. On several occasions, eastern campaigns met with disaster. The Sassanid Shapur I (240-272 CE) defeated three Roman emperors while greatly expanding the dominion of the Sasanian Empire. The Roman Emperor Valerian was captured near Edessa and ended his life as a slave, by some accounts being forced to serve as Shapur's personal footstool and later being stuffed like a taxidermy specimen.

Simultaneously, Germanic incursions across the Rhine and Danube frontiers increased. By 260 CE the empire was in such a volatile condition that portions of it split off, forming the short-lived Palmyrene and Gallic Empires. These states were nominally aligned to Rome, but tended to act predominantly out of their own interests. The Roman Empire barely survived this turmoil but would eventually recover under the effective governance of a series of strong emperors.
—In-game section

Roman expansion to the east beyond Syria was only temporary due to the revival of the Persian Empire. On several occasions eastern campaigns met with disaster. Shapur I (AD 240- 272) defeated three Roman emperors, conquered Armenia, Iraq, and part of Arabia, and overran the Kushan Empire near Afghanistan. The Emperor Valerian was captured and ended his life as a slave. At the same time barbarian raids and invasions increased at the Rhine and Danube frontiers. By 260 AD the empire was in extreme peril. It was rescued for the time being by a series of strong warrior emperors, most of who were commoners from the Balkans who rose through the ranks of the army. In the east, the Romans found a useful friend in Odaenathus, Prince of Palmyra. He was a Romanicized Arab who fought so well against the Persians and other enemies of Rome that he was made "Dux Orientis" (Duke of the Orient or Warlord of the East), a virtual co-ruler of the region. Twice the Palmyrans captured Ctesiphon, the Persian capital, and kept that empire from being a major threat.
—In-game section

Victory[]

Your quick and effective action in Mesopotamia has restored much popular confidence in the Roman military. Unfortunately, the Persians were not swayed by your offer of ransom, and the former Emperor Valerian is doomed to live out his life as slave to Shapur I. All is not lost, however. Your exploits have succeeded in convincing the Palmyrans that Rome is still strong despite the dangerous Sasanian neighbor to the east. The Palmyrans will support you in future conflicts against the Sassanids.
—In-game section

Your quick and effective action in the East has restored much confidence in Rome. Unfortunately, the Persians were not swayed by your offer, and former Emperor Valerian will live out his life as a slave. All was not lost, however. The Palmyrans have been convinced that the Persians are the real enemy and will support us.
—In-game section

Loss[]

Your failure to recover the ransom has led to the execution of Valerian at the hands of the Sassanids. The eastern portion of the Empire lies in turmoil while civil war rages back in Rome over the right to succeed him. The tribes of Germania have crossed the Rhine and Danube frontiers while the Romans continue to fight each other. Thanks to your incompetence, the Empire is in danger of collapse. Report to the Imperial court for duty as a footstool.
—In-game section

Your failure to recover the ransom has led to the execution of Valerian. Our Eastern Empire is now in turmoil while civil war rages back in Rome for the right to succeed him. The tribes of Germania are moving over the Rhine and Danube while Romans fight each other. Thanks to your incompetence, we may close the curtain on the Roman Empire about 200 years early. Report to the Siege Workshop for duty as Ballista bolt receptionist.
—In-game section

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