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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.

Intro[edit | edit source]

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Melus was passionate, but his withdrawn, stealthy manner began to stir my distrust.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[edit | edit source]

Starting conditions[edit | edit source]

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

Differences between difficulty levels[edit | edit source]

  • On Standard difficulty, the player begins with Murder Holes and Ballistics researched. Melus' Scouts also won't have any Mangonel guarding the road.

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • 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 you visit Potenza: Reclaim Capua by defeating Melus' Garrison (Yellow).
  • (secondary) If you visit Capua: Reclaim Potenza by defeating Melus' Garrison (Yellow).

Hints[edit | edit source]

  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.

Scouts[edit | edit source]

  • In Bari (Red), Melus has seized power and occupied all important military buildings. For now, Michael Nautikos (Purple) and his men have no choice but to flee westwards.
  • To the west is the city of Capua (Blue). Here Michael could pitch his camp to organize the resistance to Melus.
  • A little further south is the city of Potenza (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.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

Allies[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • Melus' Scouts (Goths) Light Cavalry, Knight, Mangonel
  • Melus' Garrison (Goths)
  • Lombard Rebels (Goths) Huskarl, Elite Skirmisher, Cavalier, Scorpion, Trebuchet
  • Melus' Mercenaries (Goths) Huskarl, Pikemen, Crossbowmen

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Quickly get all the starting units outside the city through the west gate (all other gate 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:

Going to Potenza will reward the player with:

The only Relic on the map will spawn near the Monastery if the player chooses Potenza. Since Potenza is represented by the Italian civilization, the player can train Condottieri from the Barracks. The city that the player didnt choose will be taken over by Melus' Garrison and start attacking the player.

Once taking over Capua or Potenza, the player will receive 2,000 gold and reinforcements from the east coast consisting of 5 Siege Rams and 5 Siege Onagers. The Byzantine tech tree lacks the final upgrade for Onagers, so use the 5 Siege Onagers wisely.

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

Remember that the Byzantines have 25% cheaper Spearman lines; each unit cost less 15 food and 15 wood, so the player can mass up more of them to combat Melus' cavalry.

Build up the economy, while quickly training some Pikeman units 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. Meanwhile, use the 2,000 gold to research Logistica and mass produce Cataphracts, which would be useful in combating Melus' Huskarls.

Send the Light Cavalry as reinforcements to quickly reach and defend the siege units (spawn on the east coast of the map) and the starting forces, as well as escorting them to the base while spamming Pikeman units to clear out Melus' cavalry they may encounter on the way.

With Logistica-boosted Cataphracts and siege units, destroy Melus' forces (Yellow) that are occupying Capua or Potenza. Build military buildings in the middle ground between Capua and Potenza to support besieging Melus' occupiers as well as defending both places later on. Melus Huskarls cannot withstand Cataphracts plus trample damage.

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.

Outro[edit | edit source]

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."

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Naval combat is not available in this scenario, not even Transport Ships, since the island on the east tip of the map has 3 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.
  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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 organised 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.
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