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Xenophon's March is the seventh scenario of the Glory of Greece campaign in Age of Empires. It depict the Ten Thousand expedition, in which the philosopher Xenophon participated.

Scenario instructions[]

Description[]

NuRoR centurion attack
Mesopotamia, 401 BCE

The Peloponnesian War has concluded, bringing peace to Hellas for a short time. You are part of a company of 10,000 Greek mercenaries hired to support Cyrus the Younger in his struggle to claim the Persian throne from Artaxerxes II, his brother. The Battle of Cunaxa yielded an overwhelming victory for your company, but it is all for naught as Cyrus fell in combat. Your contingent of mercenaries is now isolated deep inside the Persian Empire, with no help in sight. The journey to the nearest port on the Black Sea will be long and perilous, but it yields the opportunity for ample spoils and an eventual return home. Capture the Artifact held in the city on the coast, build a transport ship there, and bring the Artifact to friendly territory in the far north.
—In-game section

401 BC

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[]

Objectives[]

  1. Capture the Artifact.
  2. Escort the Artifact to your Government Center in the far north of the map..

Hints[]

  1. Choose your building sites carefully.
  2. Use your resources wisely, for they are in short supply.
  3. A shortage of supplies means that not all buildings and ships will be available on your journey.

Starting conditions[]

Objectives[]

Hints[]

  • 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[]

Player[]

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

Enemies[]

  • Persia (Persians AoE Persians): The red Persians control the exit of the valley with Broad Swordsmen and Armored Elephants.
  • Persia (Persians AoE 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 AoE Persians): The brown Persians control the middle and rear section of the second vally with Walls, Towers, Broad Swordsmen, and Cataphracts.
  • Persia (Persians AoE Persians): The orange Persians control the coast and the artifact with a fortified base, Long Swordsmen, Cataphracts, and Catapults.

Player[]

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

Enemies[]

  • Persia (Persians AoE Persians): The red Persians control the exit of the valley with Broad Swordsmen and Armored Elephants.
  • Persia (Persians AoE 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 AoE Persians): The brown Persians control the middle and rear section of the second vally with Walls, Towers, Broad Swordsmen, and Cataphracts.
  • Persia (Persians AoE Persians): The orange Persians control the coast and the artifact with a fortified base, Long Swordsmen, Cataphracts, and Catapults.

Strategy[]

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 west, 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 a War 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, enclosed by walls and protected by infantry. But since a lot of the infantry, including 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[]

Historical notes[]

Following the end of the Peloponnesian War after 404 BCE, numerous experienced soldiers from the various city-states found themselves to be out of work. Greek hoplites were the most formidable infantry soldiers in the West at the time, and many found employment overseas as mercenaries. In 401 BCE, Cyrus the Younger rebelled against his brother Artaxerxes II, seeking the throne of Persia for himself. The nucleus of his army was 10,000 Greek mercenaries, most of them heavy infantry.

The Greek force was originally led to believe that they were being sent on a punitive expedition into the interior of Asia Minor. When Cyrus continued to march into Mesopotamia, the mercenaries were thrilled by the prospect of further riches and glory. They met the Persian forces under Artaxerxes II at the Battle of Cunaxa, where the Greek infantry dominated the field and engineered a victory. Unfortunately, Cyrus was slain in combat, rendering the achievement null and leaving the 10,000 Greeks stranded in the heart of enemy territory.

Xenophon's book, The Anabasis (literally "going inland" in ancient Greek), tells the story of the harrowing expedition. The Persians, feigning peaceful intentions, summoned the Greek commanders to negotiations, where they were treacherously slain. Appointing new commanders, Xenophon among them, the company began the long journey north to a suitable port on the Black Sea. Although the Persians seldom harassed the Greeks, the elements took their toll over the next two years and only roughly 6,000 troops made it to the coast, where they reportedly rejoiced, yelling "Thalatta! Thalatta!" (the Greek word for the sea).

The March of the Ten Thousand is considered to be one of the greatest survival stories of all time. The tactical and logistical knowledge that the Greeks brought home proved integral to the evolution of their military structure over the following decades, as ranged and mobile units were added to the core of heavy infantry that the Greek city-states had relied upon for decades.

Furthermore, the internal instabilities of the Persian Empire were known to the Greeks, who would eventually capitalize on their advantage.
—In-game section

Victory[]

After two long years, your men glimpse the sea-and a route home-at last! The token Persian resistance was no match for your battle- hardened troops, but the rigors of the journey nevertheless took a toll on your men. As you and your warriors sail home to Hellas, you begin to ponder your observations and discoveries about the nature of the Persian interior and military tactics. The idea strikes your mind to fill a book with the story of your journey and your newfound knowledge. Perhaps someone in the following years may find it useful...
—In-game section

Loss[]

Although the Persians scarcely harassed your warriors, the rigors of the journey were too much for your demoralized company. Internal disagreements wracked your command structure and led to indecision as your men perished from the heat and thirst. As you begin to swoon at the onset of dehydration, your last thoughts are of the many men whose lives have been lost...
—In-game section

Historical notes[]

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[]

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[]

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

Changes[]

  • The Persian War Elephants of the original release of Age of Empires are upgraded to Armored Elephants in The Rise of Rome.
  • In the Definitive Edition: the orange player has some Triremes on the sea to the north of the map.
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