|This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II. For the civilization in Age of Empires III, see Germans.|
The historical Teutons were first mentioned by Republican Roman authors as being from Scandinavia and allies with the Cimbri against Rome. The in-game "Teutons" actually represent many migration period's West Germanic-speaking peoples, East Francia, the Holy Roman Empire, Crusader states, and three famous crusading orders: the Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar, and the Teutonic Knights. They rely on infantry, cavalry, siege units, and fortifications, which is typical for a medieval European army.
The Teutons were known for their mighty citadels and fortress cities which defended their cities from invaders across Europe. This is seen with their double garrison size for their towers and Town Centers. Their Castles are also second to none, as the footmen aided the archers in defending the castle. To do so, the walls built with crenellations which allows infantry to fire arrows within the safety of their wall. To supplement the castles was an efficient system of farming, so their farms are cheaper to build.
Being the center of multiple crusader orders and having their own Catholic sect, the Teutons are fanatical defenders of the faith which inspires fierce loyalty with their allies. Thus they are harder to convert to the enemy side. The German Monks are also diligent and heal their allies further away from the battlefield. German siegecraft is also designed to endure the threat of soldiers in the event they are flanked in battle, which is represented by the +4 armor.
The Teutons are an infantry civilization. As such, they have excellent infantry with all upgrades plus the Teutonic Knight, a unit that is, albeit slow, unrivaled in melee combat. Their cavalry is, in fact, limited to the Paladin, which unfortunately lacks Husbandry and thus misses out on an important speed bonus; it remains a strong unit, however. Their archers are very weak, missing improvements all over the board, but Hand Cannoneers are available. The siege weapons are great, mostly due to Ironclad, which helps patch up their main weakness: melee attacks. The Teutonic navy is very underwhelming without Dry Dock and Bracer, which is an unfortunate combination as both the Fire Ship and Galleon are greatly hindered by their absence. Teutonic Monks are excellent, but lacking Herbal Medicine does not aid the defensive capabilities, which otherwise are great, mostly thanks to Crenellations and overall solid defensive structures. Their economy is good, particularly their Farms, which are the most cost effective of all civilizations.
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In-game, Teutonic units speak Old and Middle High German, which are the ancestor languages to modern standard German and several dialects. They were spoken in Germany roughly between 700 and 1350, so this corresponds well to the time period depicted in the game. The Goths speak the same language in-game, but actually, the Goths had their own Gothic language which was spoken as early as the 4th century and became extinct by the 8th or 9th century.
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The origin of Germany traces back to the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor in 800. Upon his death the empire was split into three parts that gradually coalesced into two: the western Frankish kingdom that became France and the eastern kingdom that became Germany. The title of Holy Roman Emperor remained in Charlemagne’s family until the tenth century when they died out. In 919 Henry, Duke of Saxony, was elected king of Germany by his fellow dukes. His son Otto became emperor in 962.
The Holy Roman Empire that Otto I controlled extended over the German plain north to the Baltic, eastward into parts of modern Poland, and southward through modern Switzerland, modern Austria, and northern Italy. From the outset, the emperors had a difficult problem keeping control of two disparate regions-Germany and Italy-that were separated by the Alps.
The Holy Roman Empire was successful at first because it benefited the principal members, Germany and Italy. The Germans were not far removed from the barbarian condition. They had been conquered by Charlemagne only a century earlier. They benefited greatly from Italian culture, technology, and trade. The Italians welcomed the relative peace and stability the empire ensured. Italy had been invaded time and again for the previous 500 years. The protection of the empire defended the papacy and allowed the city-states of Italy to begin their growth.
The imperial armies were manned partially by tenants of church lands who owed service to the emperor. A second important contingent were the ministriales, a corps of serfs who received the best training and equipment as knights but who were not free men. These armies were used to put down revolts or interference by local nobles and peasants or to defend against raids by Vikings from the north and Magyars from the east.
Because Germany remained a collection of independent principalities in competition, German warriors became very skilled. The most renowned German soldiers were the Teutonic Knights, a religious order of warriors inspired by the Crusades. The Teutonic Knights spread Christianity into the Baltic region by conquest but were eventually halted by Alexander Nevsky at the battle on frozen Lake Peipus.
A confrontation between the emperors and the church over investiture of bishops weakened the emperors in both Germany and Italy. During periods of temporary excommunication of the emperor and outright war against Rome, imperial authority lapsed. The local German princes solidified their holdings or fought off the Vikings with no interference or help from the emperor. In Italy, the rising city-states combined to form the Lombard League and refused to recognize the emperor.
Political power in both Germany and Italy shifted from the emperor to the local princes and cities. The ministriales rebelled, taking control of the cities and castles they garrisoned and declaring themselves free. During desperate attempts to regain Italy, more concessions were given to the local princes in Germany. By the middle of the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Empire existed in name only. The throne remained empty for 20 years. The German princes cared only about their own holdings. The Italian city-states did not want a German ruler and were strong enough to defend themselves.
Future emperors in the Middle Ages were elected by the German princes but they ruled in name only, controlling little more than their own family estates. Germany remained a minor power in Europe for centuries to come.
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