|"Tho' all the world betray thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"
—Thomas Moore (1779-1852), The Minstrel Boy"
Light melee infantry which is affordable but rather weak, useful against enemy spears, siege weapons and buildings.
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Small defensive bonus versus missile infantry.
Unlike the Peasant Levies which are recruited merely to round out numbers, Militia are a more professional caste of warrior, meant to function in a myriad of ways, although they still perform atrociously against more professional knightly cavalry. Nevertheless, their being kitted out with sword and shield usually means that they deal more damage than a bunch of unruly peasants armed with only axes and pitchforks, and their use of a shield means that they are better as assault infantry when attacking enemy siege weapons, spearmen and buildings. Militia are common in the armies of smaller European states which have neither the time nor resources to institute military traditions which can raise these men from mere freeholders into terrifying killing machines.
Nations of Europe with Germanic roots, such as France and the German kingdoms are able to raise Feudal Retinue, a sword unit capable of high training time and with some added armour as well, making it a fairly powerful unit for your Dark Age needs. In contrast, Asian culture does not look kindly on training peasants in the fine art of swordplay, yet alone equipping them well, and so conscripted peasants and other undesirables are often given an old sword and sent to die at the front lines as suicide soldiers. It is true that these units train much faster than the Feudal Retinue of nations such as England or Spain, yet these units are much weaker than normal militia and will die fairly easily unless escorted properly.
- Hack is the New Black — Versatility is key to using Militia — they do exceedingly well against archers and possibly fortifications, and will perform well in melee against cavalry too but only if they enjoy crushing superiority.
- A Multitude of Myrmidons — Militia are cheap and fast to create, so you can easily amass an army of them.
- Suicide Soldiers — These early-game light assault units are conscript troops available only to Asian factions. They are substantially weaker, but cost far less and are trained faster, making them excellent for human wave tactics, especially for China.
- Feudal Retinue — Nations with Germanic influence such as France or the Holy Roman Empire do not raise Militia, but instead train Feudal Retinue, who are trained faster and have better armour.
- Hibernians — Scottish and Cumbrian light infantry do not use swords, but instead use javelins. They have poorer range than archers, but have enough armour and hitpoints to make themselves the bane of bowmen worldwide.
- Axe Woj — Poland's axe warband units are trained more slowly, but have enough hitpoints to already make them a menace to cavalry.
- Teutonic Order — The feudal system of Germanic tribes throughout northern and central Europe elicit feudal retinue, professional warriors who are tougher than normal Militia, making them deadly against archers. Upon the advancement of Christianity, these lesser noblemen will eventually take on new armour and weapons, and become the Palatinate Burgmänner to those elected as Holy Roman Emperors.
- Great Danes — Vikings are Norse shield bearers who are known for being devastating raiders, having better stats than normal Militia and a knack for destroying buildings.
- Militia arab cameo.jpg
Middle Eastern Militia
The first few centuries of the post-Roman era were highly turbulent times for many communities throughout Europe, which often found themselves at the mercy of several different enemies, and it was thus natural that sooner or later a body of chosen men would be required to supply the strong arms which was needed to ensure survival. Unlike common conscripted levies which were called up only for a single campaign, militias were fulltime, semi-professional armed men who were supposed to be ready for combat at all times, even in peace. The most famous of these institutions was the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, which was first introduced by Alfred the Great, and which continued to survive in some form or the other well throughout the Mediaeval Era.