The Byzantium civilization is one of the many playable factions that gamers can choose within Civilization 5, lead by Hagios Theodora I. The Byzantines have no unique structures, benefiting instead from two different types of unique units, the Dromon and the Cataphract, along with their special bonus, Patriarchate of Constantinople. This guide will cover the exact bonuses and strengths these unique aspects bring while giving a brief overview of each. You will need the Gods and Kings expansion to use this empire.
Civilization Leader: Hagios Theodora I
Otherwise known as Empress Theodora, this leader is known historically for being the most influential and powerful woman in the Roman (Byzantine) Empire’s history and a pioneer of woman’s rights. She was even sainted by the Eastern Orthodox church. Her empire takes on a less aggressive, more defense and growth oriented role with the strong unique defensive units and the necessity of starting a religion to receive the special civ benefit.
Special Ability: Patriarchate of Constantinople
This powerful special ability of the Byzantine empire comes with the ability to choose a bonus belief when you found your own religion in the game, allowing you to double up on powerful wide ranging Enhancer beliefs, or focused Founder beliefs which other civilizations will normally only ever get to choose one of. Because of the hinging of this benefit on getting your own religion founded, it typically means most Byzantine players will want to be building as many Temples and Shrines as possible early on.
Special Unit: Dromon
The Dromon comes as an Ancient Era replacement for the Trireme naval unit. The most significant difference between the two is the Dromon has a ranged attack as opposed to a “Melee” one allowing it to be quite potent against enemy navies and coastal units/cities early on in a game, particularly when used in a defensive role, much how the Cataphract is oriented. Stat wise the ranged attack can reach 2 tiles, the ship’s strength is 8/10 and finally, the unit gets a +50% combat bonus against other naval units. This unit will eventually upgrade into the Galleass instead of the Caravel.
Special Unit: Cataphract
The Cataphract is a Classical era, mounted unit replacement for the Horseman. Like the Dromon, the Cataphract takes a defensive tweak to the Horseman by uping the strength from 12 to 15, allowing it to benefit from defensive bonuses, dropping the penalty for attacking cities to -25% from -33%, however doing so at the cost of reducing the unit’s movement tile radius down to 3 from 4. Well positioned, these units will serve a leader well when it comes to holding ground against attacks.