Xenophon's March is the seventh scenario of the Glory of Greece campaign in Age of Empires. The Greek army (blue) must make its way through Persia (red, orange, yellow, and brown) to get home.

Scenario instructions[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The Peloponnesian War has ended and you are part of a group of Greek soldiers hired originally to support Cyrus the younger in his bid to claim the Persian throne. Cyrus has just been killed during the battle of Cunaxa, however, and your contigent of mercenaries is isolated deep inside the Persian Empire. While the main Persian army is not a threat, having been defeated at Cunaxa, there is a long and dangerous journey ahead before you can return to Greece. The decision has been made to strike out for the Black Sea. That is the least dangerous land route to a good seaport and a rich treasure there can substitute for the spoils and pay that were never collected. Capture the Artifact held in the city on the coast, build a transport there, and carry the Artifact to the friendly building in the north corner of the map.
—In-game section

Starting Conditions[edit | edit source]

Objectives[edit | edit source]

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • Choose your building sites carefully.
  • Use your resources wisely, they are in short supply.
  • Note: Not all buildings and ships will be available on your journey.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

  • Player (Greeks): The Player starts with a small army in the southern corner of the map.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • Persia (Persians): The red Persians control the exit of the valley with Broad Swordsmen and Armored Elephants.
  • Persia (Persians): The yellow Persians control the river and the entrance to the second valley with Broad Swordsmen, Composite Bowmen, Heavy Horse Archers, and Sentry Towers.
  • Persia (Persians): The brown Persians control the middle and rear section of the second vally with Walls, Towers, Broad Swordsmen, and Cataphracts.
  • Persia (Persians): The orange Persians control the coast and the artifact with a fortified base, Long Swordsmen, Cataphracts, and Catapults.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Try to keep the weaker members of your army alive, and save often: if you lose the Priest, you can't heal, and your soldiers won't last as long. If you lose all Villagers, restart or reload immediately, since you can't build Docks to cross water.

Build a Storage Pit, and as you send your military forces north, have your Villagers start gathering Wood. That way, they won't stand around uselessly while the soldiers fight.

You'll soon reach the Red enemy base. Send your Phalanxes forth to kill everything. You can try converting an Armored Elephant or two, but don't put your Priest in any danger. Once it's safe, send the Villagers north to build a Dock, then have them gathering Food and Wood while you wait for a Heavy Transport to be created. Building a Town Center will allow you to create more Villagers.

Halfway down the river, there's a Sentry Tower that could pose a threat, so send some Phalanxes and your Helepoli across the river. The Helepoli should stand out of range and shoot it down, and the Phalanxes should kill everything that moves too closely to your siege weapons.

When you reach the next shore, you've found the yellow Persian base. Kill everything, and send some Villagers down to gather the gold here. Building a Siege Workshop and an Academy will allow you to reinforce your army with Helepoli, Centurions and Heavy Catapults.

Move through the next enemy base, and get ready to assault the last one. There's plenty of Towers and units here, but your siege weapons and elite infantry can handle it. The Artifact is at the western end of the base, encloed by walls and protected by infantry. But since a lot of the infantry, including the Hero Xerxes, is on the other side of the wall, your Helepoli can shoot them down without endangering themselves. Build a Dock, and send the Artifact north to the island to win the scenario.

History[edit | edit source]

Historical notes[edit | edit source]

Following the end of the Peloponnesian War after 405 BC, many experienced Greek soldiers were out of work. Greek hoplites of the time were the greatest infantry soldiers in the West. Some found employment overseas as mercenaries.

In 401 BC, Cyrus the younger sought to overthrow his brother Artaxerxes II and claim the throne of Persia. The core of his army was 10,000 Greek mercenaries, mainly hoplite infantry. The Greek contingent was told originally that they were on a punitive expedition into southeast Asia Minor. When Cyrus continued to march on toward Babylon, the mercenaries did not object to the prospect of further riches and plunder.

North of Babylon the Persian army made a stand at Cunaxa. Although the Greek contingent won the battle, Cyrus was killed and the invasion came to an immediate end. The Persians offered a truce to negotiate with the Greek mercenary commanders but killed them treacherously instead. The Greeks chose new commanders and began the long trek homeward up the Tigris River and over mountains toward Greek colonies on the Black Sea. The Persians harassed them but did not attempt an engagement with their main army. The king was content just to see them go.
—In-game section

Historical outcome[edit | edit source]

Despite hardship and harassment, the 10,000 Greek mercenaries made it to the Black Sea coast and from there home by ship. The stirring story of the march home was recorded by Xenophon, one of the participants, in his book The Anabasis.

Xenophon was an Athenian and a student of Socrates, but was banished from his home city after serving as a mercenary for Sparta. He went on to write books on a variety of topics, including farming, horsemanship, finance, Socrates, history, and military tactics.

The march of the 10,000 was significant because the experience of the mercenaries revealed many weaknesses within the Persian Empire and military. Important tactical lessons were learned that led to adjustments in future Greek armies. The Greeks had employed heavy infantry in phalanxes almost exclusively for many centuries. Veterans and writers like Xenophon recognized the value of adding missile and mounted troops to armies. The combined arms approach resulted in a more flexible fighting force that could respond to different threats in varying terrain. These lessons had the greatest impact in Macedonia, where King Philip built the first integrated Greek army years later and used it eventually to unite all of Greece for the first time.
—In-game section

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This is the only scenario in the entire Glory of Greece campaign wherein the red player is not represented by the Greeks.

Changes[edit | edit source]

  • The Persian War Elephants of the original release of Age of Empires are upgraded to Armored Elephants in Rise of Rome.
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