The Romans' civilization ability is All Roads Lead to Rome, which allows all their cities to start with a Trading Post, automatically builds roads to new cities within trade range of their Capital, and increases Gold income from Trade Routes going through their cities. Their unique unit is the Legion (which replaces the Swordsman), and their unique District is the Bath (which replaces the Aqueduct).
Starting bias: None
Rome is one of the easiest civilizations to play and their core strengths focus on two issues that every civilization faces: Housing and Amenities. Defensive play is easier with Rome with free roads that allow easy mobilization and movement of your armies, while the slight amount of extra Gold helps pay for the mass investment in infrastructure a Roman player should be undertaking. However, these bonuses are not specialized for Science, Culture, or even Domination Victories, and a skilled player can do better with other civs while avoiding the pitfalls of reaching the Housing caps, or running out of Amenities. The main Roman strategy is vanilla Civilization VI at its finest: expand, then expand some more, and finally, expand some more.
When starting a game in the Ancient Era, Rome is one of the few civs that will have more Culture per turn than Science, as Trajan's special ability gives them a free Monument in the City Center. Since Monuments normally take about fifteen turns to build at the start of the game, this lets Rome save valuable time and Production. This ability phases out of usefulness in the later game, when Monuments can be built quickly and easily, but this ability makes Rome much better in the early game, as Rome can devote early Production towards Settlers and military units without fear of lacking in Culture.
In Rise and Fall, this ability is further augmented by the new Loyalty system, where Monuments produce +1 Loyalty per turn. Since Rome excels at conquest, they can easily capture new cities and not have to worry as much about captured cities revolting.
All Roads Lead To Rome
With all of this extra Culture from Trajan, Rome can quickly pick up Foreign Trade without needing to explore a lot (exploration is always encouraged, though). Upon completion of Foreign Trade, Rome should build a Trader and send it to the second city that they should have built while other civs are still struggling to build Monuments. With their extra Gold from the preexisting Trading Post, Rome will already have early game riches.
As far as technologies go, Rome needs to make a beeline for Iron Working, which will grant them their unique unit, the Legion, which is stronger than the normal Swordsman and can be amassed fairly quickly (see below). Once the Legion is unlocked, early conquest of a neighbor is inevitable, as it will grant free land with free buildings, free Gold, and free roads.
After Iron Working, Engineering is the next technology Rome needs to make sure to research, as the Bath is a phenomenal replacement for the Aqueduct. Build Baths in every city that you can. Ironically, the Bath makes building the Colosseum a little redundant, as Roman cities will already have all the Amenities they need.
The extra 2 Housing, 1 Amenity, and lower Production cost provide a great advantage to grow larger cities before the Sewer and Neighborhood are available. That means Roman cities with a Bath can support 2 more Citizens than those of other civs with an Aqueduct. It's wise to found cities near sources of fresh water and build the Bath when it becomes available, or at least place it soon to avoid the increase to Production cost over time. When combined with Rome's and Trajan's unique abilities and the Legion, the Bath allows the Romans to claim more territory and build larger cities more quickly and safely than other civs.
The Legion's raw strength and ability to create fortifications make it an invaluable tool in early-game expansion. Capturing multiple cities in a single campaign becomes much easier, since defenses can be constructed immediately around a captured city. They can also repair damaged tile upgrades.
A different, very powerful, strategy is to use the Legion's ability to spend their build charge to chop woods. This allows the Legion to create a sort of chain reaction; building a Legion, and then using the Legion's build charge to expedite the construction of another Legion, and so forth until you are out of woods. This can get you an extremely large early game army that can spell instant doom for your neighbors.
Dedicated completionists should refrain from upgrading at least one Legion and keep its single build charge intact until late in the game, then use it to clear the fallout left behind by a nuclear weapon. Doing so will unlock an achievement.
While functionally identical to a standard Fort, the Roman Fort can be built by a Legion rather than a Military Engineer. This means that the Romans have access to Forts as soon as they research Iron Working rather than Siege Tactics, effectively allowing them to start consolidating their defenses two eras earlier than other civilizations. By having their Legions build these in strategic locations around their territory, the Romans can make their lands virtually unassailable in the early stages of the game.
The Roman Fort does not count as a unique improvement and does not grant +4 Era Score.
Rome is a great generalist civilization, with lots of free stuff and the ability to minimize problems that all other civilizations face, like Housing and Amenities. An early game Domination Victory would not be difficult, with their buffs to captured cities and their Legion. Their massive and populous cities make a Science Victory very achievable. Their free Culture makes a Culture Victory easy to achieve. Rome has no bonuses towards Diplomatic or Religious Victories, but there is nothing stopping them from trying to go down that path, either.
Beating Rome revolves around surviving the early game, since the Romans' abilities make them terrifying early conquerors but fall off later in the game. If you encounter Rome in the late game, on a different continent perhaps, and they are not rushing toward your continent to conquer it, then they probably do not pose a significant threat, but if you find them in the early game, then you had better quickly work to satisfy Trajan's agenda, or prepare for a rush of Legions. It may be difficult to do so if their territory is dotted with Roman Forts, but try to pillage their cities' Baths, since the Romans rely on them for Housing and Amenities and doing so will be a blow to their Production output. If you can survive to the late Medieval Era, you are probably out of the woods, since the Legion will be largely obsolete by this time and Rome has no other direct military bonuses. Watch out for them, however, as a Cultural Victory competitor later on.
Whether one believes Rome was founded around 750 BC by Romulus and Remus, by refugees from Troy, or by a motely crew of outcasts who happened to find a nice hilltop with a source of clean water nearby, for a few centuries all roads – as the saying goes – led to it. In time the patricians found that the plebeians could be kept inattentive to serious matters with bread and circuses – a truism still – and the Republic became a dictatorship, and later an Empire. Rome laid the foundation of Western civilization, and its traditions (good and bad) live on today.
According to Roman belief, the city was founded by twin brothers named Romulus and Remus, the sons of the god Mars and a human king’s daughter. The children were abandoned at birth, but they were rescued by a she-wolf who suckled them. Upon reaching maturity the boys founded a new city, then quarreled over who would rule (or, as some would have it, the height of a wall). Romulus won; he killed his brother and became the first king of Rome. This story of abandonment and she-wolf and murder may explain quite a bit about Rome’s subsequent history.
Rome’s strategic location made it greatly prized by its neighbors; for two centuries the Latins fought off attacks by the Etruscans and the Sabines, eventually subjugating both and claiming their culture, religion, technology, wealth and of course land for Rome, establishing a serviceable template for building their empire.
Roman lore states that the last Roman king was a brutal tyrant. This villainous king, Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown by the citizens after his son raped a virtuous noblewoman. Modern historians believe that the truth is more prosaic: Rome was captured by the Etruscans, who ejected the Roman king, but external events forced them to vacate the city before they could install their own monarch. Finding that they preferred being kingless, the Romans did not recall Tarquinius to power but instead implemented a republic loosely based upon the Greek model of democracy.
The political structure was convoluted, but went something like this: Rome was ruled by two consuls. The consuls acted as the city’s chief administrators as well as the military commanders. The consuls were elected annually by the “centuriate assembly” – the Roman army. To ensure unity of command in times of great danger a “dictator" could be appointed from the consuls who had complete power. The second power bloc in the Roman government was the Senate. The Senate was composed of approximately 300 “virtuous” men drawn from the leading families. According to theory the Senate was strictly an advisory body, but in fact it held enormous political clout (given that members were all filthy rich), and its “advice” was almost always followed. The Roman Republic became the model, for better and worse, for most republics that followed.
During much of its history, the Roman Republic was at war with one or more of its neighbors since it was constantly expanding its territory at the expense of other, less efficient kingdoms. Most of these gains were swept away in 390 BC, when Gauls under Brennus defeated the vaunted Roman legions and sacked the city. It took almost half a century for Rome to recover from this disaster. By the middle of the 200s BC, however, Rome was master of central Italy, with Latin colonies extending far to the north and south. Further, work was progressing on the incomparable Roman road network tying the growing republic together, and Rome was in the process of constructing its first navy.
As Rome’s expanse and reputation grew, it inevitably came into conflict with other regional powers. One such was Carthage, a Phoenician city-state and former colony based on the North African coast in Tunisia. At the time Carthage had a mighty maritime empire which covered most of North Africa west of Egypt, coastal Spain and France, and much of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Rome and Carthage fought three “Punic Wars” (264-146 BC) to decide who would control the western Mediterranean. When the dust settled, despite the brilliance of Hannibal, courage of the Carthaginian seamen and acumen of their politicians, Carthage and all its holdings disappeared into the maw of the soon-to-be Roman Empire.
Although Rome continued fighting wars across the Mediterranean, the first century BC saw tens of thousands of soldiers return as civilians from foreign lands. There was not enough work for the ex-soldiers, especially since Rome was being flooded with slaves from overseas possessions. To be elected consul, Roman politicians had to appease these ex-soldiers, and Roman politics turned increasingly populist, with political infighting becoming increasingly bitter. It was clear that control of Rome would fall to whomever could buy the loyalty of the disaffected army. In 62 BC three men agreed to share power between them; this “First Triumvirate” consisted of the great Gnaeus Pompey, the senator Marcus Crassus, and an obscure general from a wealthy family named Julius Caesar.
These men had the same ability to cooperate and desire to share power as one might expect to find in the average killer shark, and following Crassus's death in battle, Caesar and Pompey were at each other's throats. When Caesar eventually marched on Roma with his loyal legions, Pompey and the Senate fled the city; in 49 BC Caesar entered into Rome unopposed. While maintaining the façade that Rome was a republic, Julius became a de facto dictator. He gave himself the power to appoint all senators, and he altered the constitution so that the assemblies would vote only on candidates and bills he submitted. In 44 BC he was assassinated by members of the senate who had had enough of these shenanigans (the fact that the good citizens were scandalized by Caesar’s adulterous affair with that foreign witch Cleopatra didn’t help Julius).
Following Caesar's death, his lieutenant Mark Antony allied with Marcus Lepidus and Caesar's nephew Gaius Octavian to defeat Caesar's republican assassins. But in the process Anthony took up with Cleopatra and her son by Julius, who got busy resurrecting the Egyptian empire with his help. Thereafter the members of this “Second Triumvirate” quarreled. That tiff ended with Cleopatra, Caesar’s son, Anthony and a lot of others dead and Octavian – now termed “Augustus” – as undisputed permanent dictator, even though the danger to Rome was long over. While the Roman Republic was dead, the Roman Empire had just begun and the whole world would “tremble at its power and glory.”
For the next four centuries Rome would be ruled by the dictators, who took the title “Caesar” to remember from whence their power came. The long list of emperors includes the able (Tiberius, Vespasian, Hadrian), the brilliant (Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine), some neither (Otho, Pertinax, Balbinus, and others too numerous to mention), and many downright villainous (Caligula, Nero, Commodus, the list goes on). Some had long reigns – the 48 years of Theodosius II is the record – while other lasted just months (some only days), many dying of lead poisoning on the blades of the Praetorian Guard. The whole mad stew was leavened with revolts, rebellions, uprisings, wars and the ever-present struggle to hold the borders against the barbarian hordes.
Through all this turmoil, the Romans did manage to produce some of civilization’s most enduring works. Latin art and literature had finally divested themselves of slavishly copying the Greeks; satire (something the Greeks had no appreciation for) is a Roman innovation, and Latin sculpture, frescos and landscape painting (the Romans invented the genre) surpassed anything previously seen. Roman contributions to architecture include the arch, vault and dome; some of their aqueducts, bridges and buildings still stand. Meanwhile, wealthy Romans became the world’s first tourists, wandering about Egypt, Greece and Persia, marveling at the monuments and ruins but drawing no parallels to their own times. Those who stayed at home were entertained by blood sports in the Great Coliseum and chariot races in the Circus Maximus; and there were periodically those crucifixions along the Appian Way to relieve the ennui.
At the height of its holdings under Trajan, the Empire reached from the lowlands of Scotland to the Moorish mountains to the Euphrates and Rhine. Rome was itself the world’s largest metropolis, numbered an estimated two million inhabitants, citizens and otherwise. Trade flowed into Roman lands from Africa, Gaul, Scandinavia and far India, all of it kept track of with standardized weights and measures and counted up on the Roman abacus, perfectly suited for the Roman numeral system. In fact, as the Empire progressed, given the Roman proclivity for organization, just about everything became standardized.
It was a good time to be Roman.
But by the third century AD, things were started to decline. The administration, given the state of communications in that age, grew so unwieldy it could not react to crises. In 285 AD Emperor Diocletian partitioned the sprawling realm into a western half and eastern half, with the east administered from Byzantium, where a “second” emperor was installed to act in the name of the first emperor back in Rome. The no-nonsense religion of Christianity took hold of Rome, which had always been accepting of different faiths; Emperor Theodosius I made it the state religion, and intolerance wedged cracks in the social structure wider. Barbarians became more technologically advanced, and nibbled at the edges of Roman lands. Then, there was always the possibility that the Romans were suffering from lead-poisoning thanks to those wonderful aqueducts.
Whatever the contributing causes, the last years of the Western Empire were marked by inept rulers, usurpations and barbarian incursions into the heart of Roman lands. In 410 AD Rome itself was sacked by the forces of Alaric, a Visigoth king. The Vandals overran Africa, and various provincial Roman governors broke away to pursue their own dynastic dreams. Finally, the German Odoacer, who had been a general in Roman employ, invaded, deposed Romulus Augustus, sent the imperial insignia to Byzantium, and installed himself as the new King of Italy. The “light of Rome” had been extinguished, although its shadow still looms across Europe and beyond.
- Main article: Roman cities (Civ6)
|Males||Females||Modern males||Modern females|
- The Roman civilization's symbol is a laurel wreath, a reward given to Roman commanders for victory in battle.
- The Roman civilization ability is named after the medieval statement that many paths can lead to a single destination (which referenced the Roman road network and the Milliarium Aureum).
Missed That Day in History Class
Clear nuclear contamination with a Roman Legion
Rome is Where the Heart is
As Byzantium, take the original capital of Rome while it is following your founded religion.
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