Sicily Details (M2TW Faction)
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Information herein is based on players individual experiences and may not be independently verifiable. In the event of a disagreement please discuss on the talk page.
In M2TW Sicily is quite a powerful faction in all periods, lacking in true elite troops in any area but being good all rounders.
They begin with a Castle at Palermo and a city at Naples. This means that to the north of Sicilian controlled lands, the Papal States rule. This is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing as its nearly impossible for another Catholic faction to attack without crossing the Papal States, likely angering the pope in the process, and a curse as it prevents land expansion for the same reason. Instead, to expand, Sicily should use her navy. The castles at Tunis (Tunisia), Ajaccio (Corsica) and Cagliari (Sardinia) can be taken. If converted into cities, these can become a considerable source of income.
Also, thanks to this position, if the pope calls a crusade on a city in the holy land, armies from Sicily can travel by sea, shortening the journey considerably (but meaning the army will have to be larger from the outset as crusading mercenaries cannot be recruited at sea).
As an Italian faction, the Kingdom of Sicily has access to both powerful Italian ships (essential for success as it's more likely to employ seaborne invasions than other Catholic factions) and the very effective Italian Militia units. Some unique units augment this, Norman knights (both mounted and dismounted) chief amongst them. These replace feudal knights in Sicily's roster and are more than a match for most early knights. The dismounted knights are especially powerful against other Italian factions in melee as they don't really get an equivalent to them until later on in the game. Sicily can also make use of its cosmopolitan populace and recruit Muslim archers, who are the most effective archers available to a (Southern European) Catholic faction.
Unfortunately, Sicilian artillery isn't that impressive. This all combines to give the assumption that they are a very assault oriented army with little patience for skirmishing who would much rather fight over enemy walls than blast through them.
It is possible, at least on the lower difficulty settings (M/M), to invade the Holy Lands from the start and carve out an empire for yourself that way. This writer took Antioch first, then asked the Pope to call a Crusade on Jerusalem which he is almost certain to do. Using cheap Crusader mercenaries this writer then moved southwards along the coast taking all the settlements along the way up to Jerusalem. Alternatively maybe calling a Crusade before starting the sea journey may give a better financial position once you've arrived. Once Jerusalem is taken you have options on moving against either the Fatimids or the Turks. Once you can recruit them, Pavise Crossbow Militia are extremely useful against both your enemies being relatively resistant to arrows. In this writer's campaign the Turks did not attack for some time. This gave this writer time to invade and take over Egypt and move forces to counter the Turkish force. From this base the Pope will love you for completing a Crusade, you should have good finances and you can invade northwards at your leisure with west of Egypt being covered by a massive desert.
To perform this tactic you will need to take all your forces, your cardinal and all your family members over to the Holy Land as quickly as possible. As soon as you capture a settlement in the Holy Land make it your capital to reduce public order concerns.
The kingdom of Sicily was founded in 1130, by Roger II of Sicily. By forging the lands he inherited from his father, Roger I, he was the first king of a kingdom that lasted till 1861 before merging with the rest of Italy. Although going from one family into the hands of another by either succession or conquest many times throughout history, it always remained a distinct region, instead of being assimilated by other factions. In 1266, by turmoil between the imperial house of Hohenstaufen and the papacy, the kingdom was conquered by Charles I of Anjou, son of Louis VII, king of France. Later, in 1282, the uprising of Sicilian imperials, were supported by the Byzantines and the Kingdom of Aragon. This debacle is portrayed in the mod called "the Sicilian Vespers".