The Spahi are effective against enemy light infantry and artillery, but can be countered by heavy infantry and some counter cavalry units. The Spahi fights with a mace, and deals damage over a certain area rather than a single unit. It is considered one of the most effective units in the game and can even defeat Cuirassiers in melee combat.
Spahi have a special trait; like the Explorer and his dog, they can regenerate hit points, allowing them to last longer in a game. The player can have a maximum of 43 Spahi (3 with The Grand Vizier politician at the Industrial Age and 40 shipped from the Home City – 22 in the Industrial Age and 18 in the Imperial Age).
The Spahis were cavalry for two different nations. Their name derives from a Persian word for soldier, "sipahi." They were elite cavalry in the Ottoman army, performing much the same duties as the janissaries, only mounted. There were more spahi than any other cavalry in the Ottoman army. They were also Algerian cavalrymen that fought for the French in Africa. These cavalrymen revolted when the French wanted them to leave Africa to aid France in the Franco-Prussian wars.
Mounted soldiers, they wore baggy pants and riding boots. Long, heavy cloaks, turned out to show the lining, draped them shoulder to calf, and they covered their heads with turbans. Armed chiefly with swords, they also carried firearms and spears.