Age of Empires Series Wiki

A light swordsman with more hit points, attack strength, and armor than earlier infantry.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Short Swordsman is an infantry unit in Age of Empires. Though it is superior to and fills the same tactical niche as the Axeman, it is not a direct upgrade but instead a separate unit.


This unit is similar to the Axeman in that they have normal speed, no range, and average damage and health. They are poor units to use against Cavalry, being slow and not having enough hit points. They usually get massacred by Academy units, due the Hoplite and related units having extremely powerful attack and very strong armor, making the Short Swordsman useful only against Tool Age infantry, or the equivalent light infantry in future Ages (this provided that they outnumber the enemy units).

Before the Definitive Edition it had a weapon upgrade prerequisite of Short Sword, which was itself dependent on Battle Axe. In other words, Clubman had to be upgraded for the Short Sword upgrade to appear. Once the upgrade was finished, Short Swordsman was available.

Further statistics[]

Strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Buildings, Chariots, Camel Riders
Weak vs. Cavalry, Hoplites, archers
Attack Toolworking Toolworking (+2)
Metalworkingicon Metalworking (+2)
Metallurgyicon Metallurgy (+3)
Armor Leatherarmorinfantryicon Leather Armor Infantry (+2/0)
Scalearmorinfantryicon Scale Armor Infantry (+2/0)
Chainmailinfantryicon Chain Mail Infantry (+2/0)
Bronzeshieldicon Bronze Shield (0/+1)
Ironshieldicon Iron Shield (0/+1)
Towershieldicon Tower Shield (0/+1)
Creation speed RoR Conscription Conscription (+25%)
Other Logistics Logistics (-0.5 population usage)
Broad Sword Broad Sword (+20 hit points, +2 attack)
Civilization bonuses
Hit points Choson AoE Choson (+15)
Conversion resistance Macedonians AoE Macedonians (4x)
Attack speed Romans AoE Romans (+50%)
Line of Sight Macedonians AoE Macedonians (+2)
Creation speed Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet (+25%)

Team bonuses[]

  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Upgrading Short Swordsmen to Broad Swordsmen and researching technologies that benefit Short Swordsmen is 30% faster.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Short Swordsmen move at 1.2 tiles/s.
  • Short Swordsmen take 80 seconds to upgrade.
  • Battle Axe and Short Sword are required to train Short Swordsmen.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Short Swordsmen take 90 seconds to upgrade.
  • Battle Axe and Short Sword are no longer required to train Short Swordsmen.
  • Choson: Short Swordsmen get +15 hit points.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Short Swordsmen move at 1 tiles/s.
  • Team bonuses added, Palmyrans: Technologies benefiting Short Swordsmen researched 30% faster.


There are three heroes in the game with the appearance of a Short Swordman:


The short sword represents an evolutionary step in infantry weapons. The spear, mace, and axe were relatively easy to manufacture and use, but cumbersome in very close combat. Following the discovery of bronze during the Bronze Age, it became possible to manufacture swords and shields that were basically enlarged and strengthened knives. These were much easier to wield in hand-to-hand combat and improved the effectiveness of infantry who carried them. Short swords were carried as a second weapon by spearmen or pikemen, such as the Greek hoplites. The most famous short sword of antiquity was the gladius, or Spanish sword, adopted by the Roman legions from the Spanish allies of Carthage. The gladius was especially effective in the dense legion fighting formations that pressed tightly against their opponents and restricted movement.
—The Age of Empires manual


Tech tree[]

Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Aoede clubman available
Aoede short swordsman available
Aoede broad swordsman available
Long Swordsman
Units in Age of Empires
CivilianReturnofrome female villager icon Villager · Returnofrome trade cart icon Trade Cart
OtherAoE2 DE priest icon Priest · Slinger-0 Slinger · Returnofrome artifact icon Artifact
Civilian ship1 Fishing Boat Fishing Boat · 2 Fishing Ship Fishing Ship
3 Trade Boat Trade Boat · 4 Merchant Ship Merchant Ship
InfantryClubman Clubman · AxemanAoEDE Axeman
Short Swordsman Short Swordsman · Broad Swordsman Broad Swordsman · AoE nuRoR Long Swordsman icon Long Swordsmen · Returnofrome legionary icon Legionary
HopliteDE Hoplite · AoE nuRoR Phalangite icon Phalangite · Returnofrome centurion icon Centurion
ArcherBowman aoe1de Bowman
Improved Bowman22 Improved Bowman · Composite Bowman Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer111 Chariot Archer
Horse Archer Horse Archer · Returnofrome heavy horse archer icon Heavy Horse Archer
EAICON DE Elephant Archer
CavalryScout-0 Scout
ChariotDE Chariot · ScytheDE Scythe Chariot
Cavalry111 Cavalry · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon Heavy Cavalry · Returnofrome cataphract icon Cataphract
War ElephantDE War Elephant · Returnofrome armored elephant icon Armored Elephant
Camel RiderDE Camel Rider
SiegeStone ThrowerDE Stone Thrower · CatapultDE Catapult · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Heavy Catapult
BallistaDE Ballista · Returnofrome helepolis icon Helepolis
War Ship7 Scout Ship Scout Ship · 8 War Galley War Galley · 9 Trireme Trireme
Catapult Trireme Catapult Trireme · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Juggernaut
10 Fire Galley Fire Galley
5 Light Transport Light Transport · 6 Heavy Transport Heavy Transport
Scenario Editor-only units
Short Swordsman Chieftain · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Clubman Explorer · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon General · AoE2 DE priest icon High Priest · Returnofrome horse icon Horse · HeavyCavalryDE Mercenary (removed) · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · AoE2 DE priest icon Pharaoh · 5 Light Transport Raft · Returnofrome artifact icon War Chest