Swords to their sides were girt, their helms were laced, ...
— Chanson of Roland
When it comes to warfare, the Basques are known for one thing: melee combat. Although the most common weapon a Basque may use is a knife, swordsmanship is also an area in which the Basques also excel in. However, as all mercenaries go, Basque Warriors are not as good as locally raised Militia — they are mercenaries after all. Although you may balk at the amount of wealth that you pay for them, you are actually getting a rather good bargain, because while a Basque Warrior suffers from having 33% weaker armour and toughness and can't really damage buildings, its training speed is actually twice as fast as any normal Militia. Thus, a faction with a great deal of wealth may choose to recruit Basque Warriors instead of normal Shield Bearers, but this is advisable only if a player faces impending defeat or wants to speed up his or her victory and has some money knocking around. Furthermore, Basque Warriors are stealthed whenever they are not moving, so they can be used to launch sudden assaults on unprepared foes. A mass of Basque warriors, clad in crude leather armour and brandishing wicked swords, recruited overnight is a horrific sight to any ill-prepared foe.
- Money Can't Buy You Love — Basque Warriors are not as good as locally raised Militia — they suffer from having only half the armour and toughness of normal Militia and can't really be used against buildings, but train 3 times faster.
- Spam It Like Starcraft — The fast-training speed of Basque Warriors can sometimes be used as a psychological impact weapon if sufficient wealth can be obtained to pay for them.
- SURPRISE! — Basque Warriors are stealthed whenever they are not moving, so they can be used to launch sudden assaults on unprepared foes.
Basques (or euskadulnak as they call themselves) hail from a region bordering both France and Iberia known as Bizkaia, anglicised as Biscay, and may be one of the oldest communities in Europe, being descended directly from the very first humans to colonise Western Europe. Mostly ensconced in the Pyrenees and largely bypassed by the Romans, they managed to retain a great deal of their culture and their language, and by the 5th century established a small state, known as the Duchy of Pamplona. Fierce and independent in spirit, Basques were frequently recruited by various kings as hired swords. Fighting, however, was not the only thing the Basque race was good at (whatever the contonations of the modern word "Basque" may hold today). Their existence at an isthmus surrounded by two seas — the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean — also meant that they too were keen fishermen and seamen. The Basques may have been the first Europeans to make use of the stern rudder, and many of the first pioneers of the Spanish colonial empire were thought to have been Basques.
- Mount Holyoke College, Who Are The Basques?