Faction Overview Papal States in Rise of Chivalry Papal States in Renovatio Europam
The Papal States have the power of Catholicism. They replace the Koreans.

Faction Type: Catholic
National Bonuses:

  • Start with 1 extra citizen, rececive 3 for next city and 5 for all future cities
  • Start with Temple and research religion line of research for free
  • Repair Buildings 50% faster, and citizens can repair under fire without penalty
  • Towers 33% cheaper
Papal States Flag
Unique units muster:


  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Apostolic Palace
  • Marine Arsenal

Suggestions and spoilersEdit

  • Strengths: Good cultural bonuses that can be useful for "combat engineering" - constructing towers and repairing cities
  • Weaknesses: Poor assortment of specialised units - although they are very powerful, the effect they have is highly situational. Lack of proper field skirmishing and costly heavy cavalry mean that a single mistake made in the field can be difficult to escape from.

The first thing that comes to mind when one plays the Papal States are two words: "tower rush!" Indeed, the Papal States has one of the most valuable bonuses in the game: towers are not only cheaper, but are also more easily built given the Papal States' control of Central Italy's iron and marble mines. This means that heavy units, siege weapons and towers and fortifications all benefit from it, since the Papal States can count on better metal production. The Papal States have access to some of the most powerful units in Rise of Kings: the Orsini archer line have a strong crossbow-based attack, which in fact rivals that of the ballista, and have the ability to cloak when not moving; their unique heavy cavalry unit, the Elmetti is tactically the best cavalry in the game (it is very strong, but suffers from a variety of problems); and the Pontiff's Inquisitor is the ultimate scout and anti-spy unit. Like Venice, Peasant Levy in the Papal States can be upgraded to Urban Militia, who are tougher, stronger and can be used in battle. However, this comes at a cost - the Papal States also happen to have some of the most expensive unique units. The Orsini archer, while it has a very powerful attack, has a slower rate of fire and the condottieri line, despite having an immense attack that can kill other cavalry units with ease, has a high ramp cost in wealth. Unlike Venice, the Papal States cannot readily bounce back if its military units are destroyed in battle, especially so during the late game, when it is reliant on Pavise Arbalest Infantry and Elmetti.

Due to the effectiveness of their unique units, when they have a lot of resources, a Papal States army can really just rely on their archers, heavy cavalry, and inquisitors. Their heavy cavalry are only weak against heavy infantry and can easily defeat all other types of units, their archers are a perfect counter to enemy heavy infantry, and the inquisitors can seek and destroy any enemy spies who are trying to bribe some of the Papal States' units. An ideal setup for any game is to always escort your archers with heavy infantry and militant clerics - the heavy infantry make short work of cavalry charges, while militant clerics should be able to assist in healing and protecting your archers. Alternatively, use the archers' ability to sneak up to your opponent to cause some serious damage by peppering her flanks with quarrels or by just distracting her.

These units aside, the Papal States like Venice and Burgundy have access to Urban Militia, which are actually militia armed with swords and shields, and Levy Crossbowmen. These units are substantially stronger than normal levy units, but are still not good enough to use against stronger forces. On the other hand, it would be wise to use them to screen your more vulnerable crossbowmen if facing a set-piece battle with opponents with less powerful but more reliable units.

While religion is a factor often not bothered about by offense-minded players of the traditional vanilla game, religion takes on a new dimension in Rise of Kings: it is required to upgrade your chivalric orders. Being able to get free-upgrading chivalric order knights means that a substantial amount of resources can be saved, meaning that they will prove an important component of your army. Cheaper towers too also can be a boon too, in that you can build many towers. Unlike units, towers do not cost population and can be deployed around hotspots to help support your units if they are nearly beaten.

So the Papal States are one of the most difficult factions to play, because if they have few resources in a game, it can be quite troublesome for them to train an effective army. However, with enough resources, the Papal States are an extremely potent faction.

Faction summaryEdit

  • Powerful faction, but heavily reliant on costly units and production of wealth.
  • Cost cutting — Cost is a problem for the Papal States, so try to optimise what you build or train. Customise your army to suit your opponents' weakness. If someone relies on his spies, train Inquisitors. If the enemy is big on slow-moving melee units, train archers.
  • Discount Defence Store — While towers are cheap, they are better off being built around cities to guard trade routes and harass invading forces, such as Mongolia or the Saracens.
  • Intelligence Factor — Keep light cavalry in the Dark Ages and Inquisitors and spies at hand in successive ages.
  • Bank Book and Cheque — Do not neglect your taxation dues, trade and universities: you need wealth and knowledge to create chivalric orders and your unique units.

Settlements: Rome; Civitavecchia; Spoleto; Frosinone; Latina; Rieti; Ostia; Modena; Bologna; Viterbo; Terni; Ciampino; Pontecorvo; Roccasecca; Arce; Aquino; Gaeta; Nettuno; Saubadia; Ascoli Piceno; Fermo; Macerata; Ancona; Pesaro; Urbino; Rimini; Forlì Ravenna; Perugia; Cesena; Tivoli; Cerveteri; Mentana; Palestrina; Bracciano

Leaders: Innocent, Alexander, Urban, Boniface, Benedict, Clement, Sylvester, Martin, Gregory, John, Hildebrand

Best age(s): Castle Age to early Imperial. Once an army is lost in the field, however, it is hard for the Papal States to recover back, thus the Papal States will have to be very, very careful in who it engages.


During the Dark Age, Italy was a nation divided. The Western Roman Empire existed only in name since 476, and was now divided into several small states led by the warlords of barbarian tribes known as the "Longbeards" or Lombards, to the north. As a result, there was a need for a central authority in the Italian peninsula that could provide some semblance of order in the social and economic chaos resultant from the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire in Italy.

Italy of the 7th century constituted mostly an agrarian which would swear allegiance to the Church, the sole institution to favour a peaceful existence which neither the expansionist Byzantines nor the warlike Lombards would ever think of promising to their subjects. The ecclesiastic administration, which had always till then used with great liberality what it was given for the protection of the poor and incapacitated, easily filled in the new administrative roles that Italians simply did not want to see given to Byzantines or Lombards.

Break with ByzantiumEdit

Castle 3m
Financially and politically, the ties between Byzantium and Rome were weakening, yet they were not severed altogether until 726, when the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741) unleashed the Great Iconoclasm — a prohibition of the usage of icons and the purging thereof, resulting in a serious religious crisis that would last for decades and which in Italy, pushed the limits of Byzantine power to breaking point. Religious riots were soon commonplace inspired by the denunciation of Pope Gregory II of Constantinople's policy, simmering into open rebellion against Byzantine officials intent on stamping out iconolatry in Italy. It was now thus clear that the Church of Rome had to think about distancing itself further from the Byzantines and yet defend against the Lombards who surrounded Central Italy from North and South. A boost to Papal authority came along with the invasion of the Lombard king Liutprand. Attempting to unify the Italian peninsula under Lombard rule, Liutprand defeated the Byzantines and was bound to march upon Rome. However, the hostility of citizens in territories conquered by him and the arguments of the Pope convinced the pious Liutprand to give up the attempt. He ceded the castrum of Sutri, which he had seized, to the Duchy of Rome, as a gift to the "beato Petro apostolorum principi". Four cities would eventually form the patrimony of the Church in Sabina. These actions did not merely just confirm the role of the Pope as the spiritual leader of all Christianity, but as the representative of the Roman people as well.

Holy Roman EmpireEdit

Despite having thrown off the Byzantine yoke by default, and also having evaded Lombard attempts to take Rome, the Church was still open to attack, and so decided to seek a new ally which could grant it the protection it still wanted. A papal delegation crowned Pippin the Short of the Franks in 754 as "Patrician of the Romans", and Frankish armies poured into Northern Italy, defeating the Lombards. The modern Papal States were created as Pippin donated the territories of the former Exarchate of Ravenna to the Church. The ties between the Franks and the Church became even closer with the coronation of Charlemagne as "Emperor of the Romans", creating the Holy Roman Empire in the 9th century. Under this arrangement where the Papacy would give its sanction to a chosen German king, the Mediaeval Papacy would achieve its peak of power under Innocent III.


However, as time came by, the Holy See would eventually regret its actions, as it would be driven to conflict with its supposed "protectors", the Emperors over the question of whether it was the Emperor or the Pope who could dictate laws over temporal affairs. Further conflicts would be spawned as the Carlovingian empire would be split up, weakening the power of the Emperors to the benefit of the Roman aristocracy. It was at this time that urban settlement patterns in Italy changed, with people leaving the more arable lands near rivers for the safety of redoubts built near defensive sites on high ground, known as 'rocche'. As conflict between Pope and Emperor arose, the territories of the Holy See, once one of the world's safest places, now became a dangerous place as local warlords strove for power with one another. By the 14th century, Rome was no longer safe and Clement V, a Frenchman, instead moved the Papacy and the administering Curia to Provence, abandoning Rome.

Papal StatesEdit

The Papacy would be back by 1420 in Rome; however by then the so-called Eternal City was now full of mouldering ruins and economically bankrupt. A lot of work had to be done and blood spilled in order to restore the Holy See of Rome to working order, and so massive renovation projects took place throughout Rome and its surrounding provinces, while Papal armies were created in order to put down the banditry and lawlessness that dominated the years of the Avignon papacy. It was during the 15th and 16th centuries that modern Rome of Renaissance elegance would appear, and the Papacy would reign supreme over central Italy, but the cost of doing so would spark the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, resulting in the declining influence of the Papacy as a deciding factor in global politics.


In the Portuguese version of Rise of Kings, the Papal States are instead renamed as the "Italians", and their leaders are replaced by Italian military leaders instead of popes.