Jarl Cavalry

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"Now mount we our horses,
Now bare we our brands,
Now haste we hard, maidens,
Hence far, far away."

Njal's Saga, "The Woof of War"

In game

Jarl Cavalry — Vital statistics
Jarl Cavalry

Norse Heavy cavalry-type unique unit that is cheaper to produce but with substantially poorer stats than normal lancers.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrades to
Level 2: Mercenaries Military
85 6 13 5.9s

Retinue Cavalry

Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Ore.png: 60;
Wealth.jpg: 50
Wealth.jpg: 1


3 Melee
  • Inferior but cheaper heavy cavalry unit.
  • Bonus damage versus light infantry.
  • Defensive bonus versus Archers.
  • Heavy attack penalty versus heavy cavalry, camel cavalry and elephants.


Overall strategy

The noble caste of Norse society, Jarl Cavalry form the civic and military elites of their communities, and as such, have a variety of special abilities associated with the culture and world they live in. At the start of the game, these Viking chieftains are all that you can afford as per heavy cavalry when playing as the Norse, being characterised by no ramp in metal, but with a near to punitive attack penalty.

In truth, Jarl Cavalry are extremely poor fighters, if pitted against Lancers or Knights. This means that Jarls in general are good for ploughing over light cavalry and infantry, but perform poorly if attacked by Lancers and should be kept away from heavy infantry wherever you find them. France's hard-hitting and faster cavalry, or the stalwart Byzantine scholarii, which are some of the best Dark Age cavalry units — you should find a way to dodge them, or counter them with your own Spearmen rather than send your Jarl Cavalry to what would be a quick and painful demise.

Still, this heavily discounted metal cost has its own perks: Spearmen and Longships should be easier to obtain. Equally, this lower production cost also means that Jarls can be created by mere trading alone, since their metal costs are fairly meagre as heavy cavalry units go — but because of the difficulties in amassing Wealth and Metal, it might be better for the Norse player to ignore training Jarl Cavalry altogether, and instead train Scout Cavalry and Javelin Cavalry units instead to supplement the ranks of Vikings which would have been amassed by merely spam-building enough Barracks.

Unit summary

  • Tin Soldiers — As these units cost less in metal, you will discover that you can recycle the metal saved for other projects, most notably heavy infantry and fortifications.
  • Raw Deal — Despite their lack of cost in metal, you should never think of training these units in large numbers since Scout Cavalry, despite being inferior, are more cost-effective.
  • Merchant Cavalry — Consisting of armed men on horseback, these mercenary units can be raised by the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary should the need arise, although in an era of increasingly armoured cavalry and knights, it is hard to say just what they may do.


Scandinavia is a harsh and forbidding land of extreme cold and broken land, characterised mostly by deep valleys called fjords and icy mountains and glaciers. As such, horses remained a highly prized resource in Norse society, becoming the privillege of the richest noblemen or "jarls" (today retained in English as the noble title of earl) — and even then, the Norse never chose to ride horses into battle, simply because they could not easily resupply themselves with fresh mounts, unlike the Franks or the Saracens. The Nordic states of Scandinavia, however, weren't rigidly feudalised as the Franks and English were, and so it was common for jarls to lend their services out as mercenaries besides being traders and pirates, depending on their luck and skill. Much later, the "boom" years of the 12th and 13th centuries would provide for sufficient stability and dependence on trade to allow merchants to hire muscle to protect caravans from bandits. These warriors, Merchant Cavalry, can be recruited by the Germans or Hungarians should the need arise.