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This article is about the scenario in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. For the scenario in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, see The Rebellion of Melus.

The Rebellion of Melus is the second scenario of the reworked Bari campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It is based on the Lombard uprising led by Melus, which seized Bari in 1009, and the efforts of the Byzantines to retake it two years later.


I walked downstairs the next morning in a daze. The battle of the previous night was fresh in my mind, and it chilled my blood. I whirled around, and found myself staring straight into my father's eyes.

"Nothing shakes the ghosts of battle like a fine story, son. Come, sit down to a meal, and I shall tell you of the rebellion of Melus!"

The sun shone onto my father's gaunt face. He had a head of thick grey hair and his limbs remained strong from years as a sailor and a soldier.

"I have donned mail since the year 1005, when I was but a lad in the service of Melus, the highest-ranking nobleman in the city. Ambitious and eager to prove myself, I soon became his best man.

Melus was passionate, but his withdrawn, stealthy manner began to stir my distrust. When he invited all manner of mercenary troops into our beautiful city, I began to fear the worst."

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

  • Starting Age:CastleAgeicon.png Castle Age
  • Starting resources: ​100 gold
  • Population limit: 150

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On Standard difficulty, the player begins with Murder Holes and Ballistics researched. Melus' Scouts will not have any Mangonels guarding the road.


  • Escape from Bari through the western gates as quickly as possible.
  • (subsequently) Find a place to take refuge from the rebel forces.
  • (subsequently) Reconquer Bari from the rebels by destroying all Castles in the city.
  • (secondary, if the player visits Potenza) Reclaim Capua by defeating Melus' Garrison (Yellow).
  • (secondary, if the player visits Capua) Reclaim Potenza by defeating Melus' Garrison (Yellow).


  1. Michael Nautikos can reach the Imperial Age but is restricted to a population limit of 150.
  2. You can construct Fishing Ships but no war vessels, as there is no shipbuilder among the soldiers still loyal to Michael Nautikos.
  3. Your first priority is to escape Melus' henchmen. You can either seek shelter in Capua, or flee to distant Potenza. Both options bring advantages and disadvantages.
  4. Even if you are in a hurry, you should not forget that the shortest route is not necessarily the safest. Many of Melus' soldiers lie in ambush in the center of the map.


Your scouts report:

  • In Bari (2, Red), Melus has seized power and occupied all important military buildings. For now, Michael Nautikos (1, Purple) and his men have no choice but to flee westwards.
  • To the west is the city of Capua (3, Blue). Here Michael could pitch his camp to organize the resistance to Melus.
  • A little further south is the city of Potenza (4, Cyan). This city would also give refuge to Michael and his soldiers. Fleeing to Potenza, however, would mean a longer journey. But the city is richer than Capua, which would benefit Michael's war chest.



  • Player (Byzantines): The player will start with Michael Nautikos and a small army outside the city of Bari.


  • Bari (Italians): They represent the city of Bari and consist mostly of buildings. They act as a decorative player and will remain passive for the rest of the scenario.
  • Capua (Franks): The first city to offer Michael shelter. They will defend themselves with Pikemen, Crossbowmen, and Battering Rams.
  • Potenza (Italians): The larger city situated in the Southeast. Potenza will hand over all of their buildings to the player once Michael and his troops reach the city.


  • Melus' Scouts (Goths): Sent by Melus to capture Michael alive, they consist of Light Cavalry, Knights, and Mangonels through the map.
  • Melus' Garrison (Goths): They will take over a city as their main base depending on the player´s choice. Once they take over Capua (or Potenza), they will send Huskarls, Light Cavalry, and Knights.
  • Lombard Rebels (Goths): They have two small bases which the player can destroy if they take the route to Potenza. Their main base will send Huskarls, Elite Skirmishers, Cavaliers, Scorpions, and Trebuchets to attack player´s base.
  • Melus' Mercenaries (Goths): They consist of the military buildings inside Bari as well as four Castles, which player has to destroy. They will train Huskarls, Pikemen, and Crossbowmen to attack the player.


Quickly get all the starting units outside the city through the west gate (all other gates will be locked). The player will get some additional troops outside the city. Let the infantry units stand ground somewhere safe, while using two Scout Cavalry units to sneak past Melus forces and reach Capua or Potenza.

  • Going to Capua will reward the player with 700 food, 850 wood, 650 gold, 275 stone.
  • Going to Potenza will reward the player with 900 food, 1200 wood, 800 gold, 500 stone.

The player should not try to attack any of the Lombard Rebel camps while on their way to a city, as tempting as it may seem. While the camps only have a few units and Watch Towers guarding them initially, other units from the rebel army will rush to the camp if it is attacked, including Cavaliers and Huskarls, which the player will not be able to defeat so early without severe casualties. The player should avoid them at all costs early on.

The only Relic on the map will spawn near the Monastery if the player chooses Potenza. The city that the player did not choose will be taken over by Melus' Garrison and start attacking the player. While recapturing the other city is not necessary to win the scenario, the player will get a trading ally by doing so.

As hinted, the player cannot train any ships to attack on water, but can still use the Docks to build Fishing Ships and Fish Traps.

Remember that the Byzantines have 25% cheaper Spearman-lines; each unit costs less 9 food, 6 wood, so the player can mass up more of them to combat Melus' cavalry. The player also needs to get Blacksmith armor upgrades as soon as possible, or their units will be easily bested by the enemy's already-upgraded troops. Sadly, most of the player's initial army will not benefit from new upgrades since they were originally Gaia units. Additionally, the walls of Capua or Potenza will not benefit from Fortified Walls since they did not start out belonging to the player; it wouldn't help much if they did anyway since the player will be attacked by Trebuchets.

Build up the economy, while quickly training some Pikemen and Light Cavalry to fend off Melus' early raids, then use them to clear out Melus' cavalry (Grey) that stand too close to Stone Mines. Once secured, send Villagers to mine it and build a Castle, more than one if possible. Same goes with Gold Mines. Train Cataphracts as soon as possible to counter green's Huskarls and Trebuchets that will attack the base.

Later in the scenario, the player will receive a 2,000 gold tribute from Basil Boioannes (the protagonist in the following two scenarios) and reinforcements from the east coast consisting of five Siege Rams and five Siege Onagers. The Byzantines lack the final upgrade for Onagers, so use the five Siege Onagers wisely. Send Light Cavalry to quickly reach and defend the siege units, and then escort them back to the base, while spamming Pikemen to clear out any Melus' cavalry they may encounter on the way.

Use the 2,000 gold to research Logistica and mass produce Cataphracts, which will be useful in combating Melus' Huskarls.

Build military buildings in the middle ground between Capua and Potenza to support besieging Melus' Garrison (Yellow) as well as defending both places later on. Melus' Huskarls cannot withstand Logistica-boosted Cataphracts. With Cataphracts and siege units, attack Yellow, that is occupying Capua or Potenza. Yellow will resign after the player destroys their Town Center and military buildings, and kill all their Villagers and military units. Do not destroy the Market so that the player can trade later. When Yellow resigns, the remaining buildings will pass to the original city's control.

Train some Trade Carts to get gold from the market of Capua or Potenza, with gold from trade (and from the Relic gold trickle if the player chose Potenza), train even more Cataphracts as well as upgrading the trash units to Halberdiers and Hussars.

Mass Trebuchets and destroy the Castle in Melus' (Green) bases first; make sure Melus' cavalry and bases (Grey and Green) are absolutely cleared out before besieging his (Orange) Castles, as they would gang up to save Melus' Castles and attack the player's forces from behind.

As mentioned above, the player has access to Condottieri thanks to Potenza being Italian. The player can train some of them to tackle Melus' (Green) Bombard Cannons. Build military buildings nearby to keep the siege goes on until the fourth Castle of Melus is destroyed.


My father stood up to tend the fire. "1011. It had been 2 years since I had stood in the courtyard of Melus' castle in Bari.

With the rebel garrison defeated, Bari was once again in Byzantine hands. Unsurprisingly, the local catepan, or lord, asked me to remain at the head of the force that I had recruited.

Most of Melus' family was captured and imprisoned, but Melus and his brother, Dattus, were still at large in the countryside. The rebellion was far from over."


  • Naval combat is not available in this scenario, not even Transport Ships, since the island on the east tip of the map has three Horses acting as placeholders for scripted changes: Melus (Yellow) can take over Capua or Potenza, and they can change back once Melus occupation forces are defeated. The three Horses prevent those three factions from being defeated.
  • If the player can make the Yellow placeholder Horse die before taking over Capua or Potenza, the other would have a new Central European Town Center and rapidly militarizing, only an average sized group of Melus' (Yellow) units would spawn and get hilariously defeated by local forces.

Historical comparison[]

  • Set in 1011, this scenario takes place 140 years after its predecessor. While Arrival at Bari depicted the conquest of Bari by the Franks, they only held the city for three years before it passed to the Byzantines after the death of Frankish emperor Louis II. The city and southern Italy, with its substantial population of Lombards, were organized into the Catepanate of Italy, a province of the Byzantine Empire.
  • The Lombards are represented by the Goths in-game. Like the Goths, the Lombards were a Germanic tribe that migrated from northern Europe, ultimately taking control of Italy from their Gothic cousins before being subjugated by Charlemagne.
    • By the time of this scenario, Lombard nobles such as Melus still retained considerable influence despite the constantly changing balance of power between the Franks, Saracens and Byzantines in southern Italy.
  • The scenario's antagonist, Melus of Bari, hoped to forge an autonomous Lombard territory from Bari and its hinterland. While he and his brother quickly seized Bari and some surrounding towns in 1009, within two years Bari was besieged by the Byzantines. Melus was forced to flee when the Greek inhabitants of Bari negotiated a surrender to the Byzantine army. The failure to capture Melus, however, sets the stage for the next scenario.
  • Melus attempts to kill the Byzantine garrison in Bari at the beginning of the scenario. In real life, Melus managed to kill the Byzantine catepan of Italy, John Kourkouas in the opening violence of his rebellion.
    • The catepan referred to in the narration is Kourkouas' successor Basil Mesardonites, who commanded the Byzantine response to the Lombard uprising.