"They were enduring of toil, hunger, and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, and of all the weapons and garb of war."
— Goffredo da Malaterra, Benedictine friar and historian
Perhaps one of the most professional of all soldiers and the most lethal killers on battlefields throughout the Mediterranean, the predominantly Southern Italian Milites (pronounced as me-lee-tes) are the mainstain of Sicily's army, well until the Imperial Era. With ample speed, attack and armour, this monstrosity of a unit in large numbers can easily hold lines as much as break them, and are good for punishing non-unique melee infantry of the Dark and Castle Ages, especially those shared between different factions such as Fauchard Infantry or Suicide Soldiers. As medium infantry go, however, these units are not suited to work in loose formation. Their shorter reach with swords makes them prime targets for knights and pikemen, whose superior reach can be breached only with massive numbers (and in the case of heavy cavalry, crushing superiority). In other cases, sufficient crossbow fire or the Slavic axe units of Russia and Poland can easily stop these erstwhile warriors in their tracks. Thus, keep them accompanied by Spear Sergeants and archers close by for maximum results.
- Strength In Numbers — Milites are fairly strong with some good attack and armour for their own unit classification, but can be easily stopped by units with better armour and hitpoints.
- Counter-Cultural Clash — The added attack bonus of Milites against regional melee infantry units shared between different factions means that they are very effective against factions with heavy numbers of regional units, such as Venice or Burgundy.
Despite the emergence of chivalry as a means of keeping the military aristocracy of mediaeval Europe from running amuck, not all warriors or knights often behaved with the decorum expected of good Christians. Many were often robber barons, attempting to atain more wealth and power through slaughter and looting. The Normans who moved in against the Byzantines and Muslims of southern Italy ultimately disguised their enterprises there as crusades against heathen foes in order to obtain the blessing of the Church - and to ultimately legitimise their claims in Italy and the Levant, even after having unsheathed their swords against fellow Christians. Not all of them fought against the Byzantines, however, and some of them eventually found service with Constantinople, and they were known as latinikon or frangoupoloi (usually cavalry).