The Horseman is a Mounted unit available in the Classical Era.


The first horses used effectively in battle pulled chariots. The nomadic people of Central Asia were riding horses by 2000 BC, perhaps earlier. While certainly horsemen were employed to carry messengers and scouts, they did not become effective fighting platforms until the development of dual stirrups combined with a solid saddle (to distribute the rider's weight when standing in the stirrups). The earliest effective dual stirrups/saddle combination is found in China and dates from approximately 300 AD, and over the next four centuries it spread across Asia and into Europe.

The earliest fighting horsemen were armed with spears and swords. As technology advanced and bigger and stronger horses were bred, horsemen were equipped with ever more powerful weapons and heavier armor, culminating in the classic knight of the Middle Ages, the king of the medieval battlefield.


The Horseman is the first true melee cavalry unit, combining speed with a powerful attack. It has 4 MPs like all cavalry, but unlike the Chariot Archer it can use its full movement in rough terrain. The Horseman packs a punch with decent weapons combined with the speed and strength of the horse; it can move after attacking, making it ideal for hit-and-run tactics, and also for attacking badly positioned enemy ranged units, then retreating before the enemy can retaliate.

A civilization that has Horsemen can quickly cut through Barbarian encampments, scores of Warriors, Archers, and even Swordsmen. You can also use the Horseman's mobility and decent combat strength to explore the land and deal with any dangers single-handedly. However, like other mounted units, it can't use natural terrain defenses (although terrain combat experience acquired via promotions is still applicable), and its weapons are quite useless against the solid ramparts of cities. Also, as a mounted unit, the Horseman remains vulnerable to attacks from Spearmen, Pikemen, and the like, so keep it away from these!  

Unique Unit Replacements

Icon Unit Civilization Abilities
African Forest Elephant
Carthage (Dido)

Carthage (Hannibal)

  • Starts with the Great Generals II promotion
  • +16% Combat Strength (14 vs 12)
  • Combat penalty for adjacent enemies
  • Does not require Horses
  • -1 Movement (total 3)
  • +33% Production cost (Hannibal)
Alan Cavalry
Unitflag alancavalry
Alan Cavalry
The Vandals (Genseric)
  • Ignores terrain movement penalties
  • +2 Movement to stacked Settlers
Altaic Rider Uyghur (Bayanchur Khan)
  • Slightly faster
  • Combat bonus in rough terrain
  • Increased Sight
Armenia (Tigranes II)
  • No penalty vs. Cities
  • Ignores Defensive Buildings when attacking a City
  • Starts with Cover I
  • -1 Moves Movement
Bulgaria (Simeon I)
  • +1 Strength Combat Strength
  • Acquires Drill and Shock Promotions simultaneously.
Byzantium (Theodora)

Byzantium (Alexios I Komnenos)

  • May use defensive terrain
  • +25% Combat Strength (15 vs 12)
  • -1 Movement (total 3)
  • +5% Combat Strength vs Cities (total -25%)
Companion Cavalry
Greece (Alexander)
  • Starts with the Great Generals I promotion
  • +1 Movement (total 5)
  • +16% Combat Strength (14 vs 12)
CumanIcon Wikia
CumanFlag wikia
Magyars (Árpád)
  • Has half the usual city attack penalty
  • Cities garrisoned with a Cuman produce units 15% faster
Unitflag dalmatiancavalry
Dalmatian Cavalry
Rome (Aurelian)
  • +1 Movement when adjacent to a Great General
  • While on a Fort or Citadel:
    • +25% Combat Strength when attacking
    • Gain the base Combat Strength of the strongest unit available
Unitflag griv
Parthia (Mithridates I)
  • Slower, but has more Combat Strength
  • Ignores enemy zones of control
  • Starts with the Local Nobility promotion:
    • When garrisoned in a conquered city, increases Production and yields +1 Happiness and Gold
Jinetes Castile (Isabella)
  • Restores Hit Points and 2 Moves Movement after capturing a city following a different religion.
  • Flank attack bonus increased by 15%.
  • -25% Combat Penalty vs Cities (vs 33).
Mounted Infantry
The Franks (Charlemagne) (LastSword)
  • Classed as Melee
  • No defensive terrain penalty
  • No penalty vs. Cities
Palatini Rome (Constantine)
  • +15% Strength Combat Strength when stacked with a Great General.
  • +25% Penalty vs. Cities (from 33%).
  • +10 Max HP[1]/+5 Strength Combat Strength when trained in the Capital.
Poland (Boleslav I)
  • +1 Moves Movement
  • +50% Flanking bonus
  • No penalty vs. Cities, if the City does not have Walls.
Samoyed Sled The Nenets (Vavlyo)
  • Unlocked at Animal Husbandry
  • Does not require Horses Horses
  • -25% Strength Combat Strength (9 vs 12)
  • May be expended to build a Camp or Trading Post, regardless of Technology prerequisites
  • Never obsoletes
The Kazakhs (Ablai Khan)
  • +3 Strength Combat Strength
  • +15HP healing in neutral territory, +10HP healing in friendly territory
War Party
The Niitsitapi (Running Eagle)
  • +20% Strength Combat Strength outside friendly lands
  • 25% chance of converting captured enemies into Workers

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