|"This is how the bow wounds! To death, to havoc, to ruin!"|
— Giacomo Badoaro, Venetian nobleman and playwright
Vaccari (lit "cowherds") as they are known in vulgar Italian, are as rustic as their name suggests, but don't assume that that would make them useless. On the contrary. In the mountainous and arid badlands of southern Italy, a life of ranching and rustling dating from the days of the first Romans and other Italic tribes often results in extremely dangerous men, capable of stealing cattle as much as they themselves are at herding.
Vaccari are not expected to stand up and fight as other units would, unlike other people who can rely on a core of feudal reserves, but their ability to lay ambushes and their skills with a bow mean that they are highly valued as fighters. Use the stealthy abilities of the Vaccari to launch raids on your opponents or lay ambushes to take out high-prized targets, but do not expect them to avail greatly against other archer units. In a heated battle, Vaccari can often be a nasty shock, appearing out of nowhere to pepper your enemy with death from above, before running away.
- Discretion is the Better Part of Valour — Since Vaccari are fairly weak as archers come by, they are not expected to stand up and fight, but to function as anti-melee infantry units, backed up by skirmisher levy if possible.
- Rustle and Bustle — Vaccari can be used to either raid unsuspecting players, or to ambush or outflank enemies. The latter they do extremely well, as your enemy would usually be attracted to your more visible units first.
For most of the Early Mediaeval Era, the cities of Italy heavily relied upon the support of the Byzantine Empire to survive depredations by Lombards, Vikings, Arabs, and other enemies but once relations with the latter began to sour, it was by then evident that the Italians were highly deficient as regards to manpower for wars of attrition. As a result, it was common practice for the Italian city-states to organise any individuals fit enough into auxiliary units to address this lack of military preparedness. Much later, these city-states relied on the use of professional militia and conscripts to support their deadly feuds, but political instability and intrigue would eventually doom them, and from the Intermediate Mediaeval Era onward, they too would be supplanted by professionals recruited by the nobility or the urban signory as a core of trusted followers.