Marshall your savagery, and strike primal fear into the hearts of your enemies with the Beasts of War unit pack for ROME II. Comprising seven new battlefield units, Beasts of War brings further variety to ROME II’s already diverse unit roster.
Terrorise your enemies and slow their progress with beehive, scorpion and snake-pot ballistas, or crush them under the weight of heavily-armoured Cataphract Camels and Mercenary Syrian Armoured Elephants. And when their will is broken and they flee the field, run them down with two new breeds of ferocious war-dogs.
Beasts of War brings introduces the following recruitable units to ROME II:
- Molossian Dogs
Can be recruited by: Epirus
A heavily muscled beast from western Greece, the now-extinct Molossian is considered to be the predecessor of many of today’s larger breeds, such as the Rottweiler and Great Dane. Used as both a guard dog and in battle, Virgil remarked “never, with them on guard, need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief, or onslaught of wolves, or Iberian brigands at your back.” These vicious dogs do not tire easily, and never lose the scent of an enemy.
- Beehive Onager
Can be recruited by: Athens, Epirus, Macedon, Sparta, and Syracuse
Whilst large-scale beekeeping for agricultural purposes was a later innovation, the humble honeybee nevertheless held an important place in ancient Greek culture. A trio of mythical nymphs, the Thriae or ‘bee maidens’, were loved by Apollo and Poseidon, bearing their children. Bees also have a practical application in battle, as a swarm of angry bees will always cause troops to stall and panic.
- Scorpion Pot Ballista
Can be recruited by: Pontus, Parthia
Home to the most lethal scorpions in the known world, whose sting can paralyse and kill a man within an hour, it was only a matter of time before a wily Middle Eastern general used them against his enemies. Spare a thought, then, for the Roman emperor Severus; whilst besieging the Parthian city of Hatra, his army was showered with pots of scorpions from atop the city walls. Like Trajan before him, Severus failed to breach the defences, even after two attempts.
- Snake Pot Ballista
Can be recruited by: Carthage
Perhaps the most famous use of potted animals was Hannibal Barca’s tactic against the fleets of Eumenes II of Pergamon. Hurling large clay pots full of venomous snakes onto the decks of Eumenes’ ships; he panicked the enemy fleet and won the day. Any unit struck by writhing, venomous snakes will pause to consider the wisdom of marching onwards!
- Camel Cataphracts
Can be recruited by: Parthia
The Roman general Macrinus was not noted for his experience, although had another fought the Battle of Nisbis in 217 AD, it’s hard to imagine he’d be any less stunned by the Parthian cataphract camels fielded that day. Wearing coats of tough, yet flexible, scale-mail, they made an awesome and terrifying sight as they punched through the frontlines and spooked the Roman horses with their camels’ earthy stench.
- Celtic Warhounds
Can be recruited by: Iceni, Cantiaci, Caledones, Demetae, Dunmonii, Brigantes, and Ebdani
Dogs have always been useful for guard, patrol and scout work. With skilled handlers they can also be used effectively on the battlefield. Attack dogs were specifically bred and trained to ignore the noise and chaos of combat. The Celtic tribes of the late Iron Age put them to great use. Their speed and ferocity made them ideal shock-troops, and perfect for running down fleeing stragglers.
- Mercenary Syrian Armoured Elephants
Can be hired as mercenaries in: Dura, Antioch, Tyros, and Palmeira
Indian elephants first came to the Middle East when Seleucus, one of Alexander the Great’s Successors, invaded India in 305 BC. 500 war elephants were handed over as part of the peace treaty between the Seleucid dynasty and the Mauryans of India, and the Seleucids went on to breed many more from this initial stock. War elephants remained an important part of the Seleucid army until their defeat by the Romans at Magnesia in 190 BC, following which they were forbidden from breeding more.
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