Ghilman Cavalry

From Rise of Kings Wiki

"Night and day our horse is saddled and our saber is girt."

Suleiman I, letter to Francis I

In game

Ghilman ico.png
Ghilman Cavalry — Vital statistics
Ghilman Cavalry

Toughened medium cavalry unit capable of knocking out other light cavalry units, and swarming heavy cavalry.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement

  • Absolutism Politics
  • Five Pillars
110 8 19 1.6s

Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Food.jpg: 80;
Timber: 60
Food.jpg: 20;
Timber: 20


4 Melee
  • Bonus damage versus light infantry.
  • Defensive bonus versus Archers.
  • Attack penalty versus heavy cavalry, camel cavalry, and elephants.
Saracens.jpg Moors.jpg

Overall strategy

Recruited from the distant lands surrounding the Black Sea and drilled to perfection, Ghilman Cavalry are the best medium cavalry unit which can be raised by Arab potentates. They do not have the armour and heavy hitting power of Mamluks, but they are still expert horsemen. Think of them as a Trooper which arrives one era earlier in the game, allowing you to outclass your Christian foes on horseback whenever you meet them, so you will be able to develop a more efficient cavalry wing for your army. The only issue, however is that like normal Troopers, Ghilman Cavalry have their own problems against other cavalry units and heavy infantry. Additionally, while they aren't that tech-intensive like Imperial Era European troops, you can train them only from the Nobles' Court, so it will be guaranteed that even if resources are willing, you may always find these men in short supply. As a force, Ghilman are recruitable only for those who have researched Monarchy alongside Darul Islam.

Unit summary

  • For the Horde! — Due to their toughened stance, Tarkhans are capable of countering other cavalry units, either through sheer numbers, or by their stats alone. Once you reach the later eras, the Tarkhan can give your army the edge it needs to keep fighting, especially since you cannot research Centralisation.
  • Flight Knight — Knights are indeed very tough enemies, and so when using Tarkhans on the attack, you must build them in groups large enough to surround your opponents' cavalry. In a one-on-one battle, Tarkhans eventually lose out to the heavier Knights and Man-at-Arms, thus you must train as many Tarkans and upgrade them whereso needed.
  • Bullseye — Because of their specialties, you must be careful of how you use your Tarkhans. True, Tarkans can kill many weaker unique units, such as the Muslim infantry and camelry, but against stauncher foes such as Italian elmetti or pikemen, the best action would be to avoid them where possible.


In the Islamic world, the term "ghulam" meant a slave or servant, and was used in military parlance to just as how the word "knight" referred to a "serving boy"), but this is often more of the exception, and not the rule east beyond the Lebanon and the Urals. Unlike European knights which were raised from the local gentry, ghilman were recruited from slaves purchased from abroad. The reason for this was because the Islamic Middle East was politically unstable, and personal slaves were seen as more reliable than the local aristocracy, especially following the overthrow of Umayyad rule in Arabia. This arrangement however didn't always provide the results which sultans always wanted: eventually, heavy reliance by the Abbasids on their so-called "slaves" turned them into a rich and powerful social caste dominant in the military and the civil service, and some even founded their own kingdoms, such as those of mediaeval Egypt.