Classical Maya City State

This list primarily represents the armies of the various temple city states of the Yucatan peninsular between c.250AD & c.900AD, before the arrival of Aztec influenced mass human sacrifices and military orders (Jaguar/Eagle knights) in the mid C14th. It represents armies of the Maya states as they advanced towards the peak of their social and cultural development with an agriculturally intensive, city-centred empire consisting of numerous independent city-states. These include the cities of Teotihuacán, Tikal, Palenque, Copan and Kalakmul, as well as Dos Pilas, Uaxactun, Altun Ha, Bonampak and many other sites in the region. Following the collapse of the Lowland city-states in the late C9th there was a slow, fluctuating recovery which ran through until the Spaniards arrived in the C16th. It was during this Post classic period that some of the more 'famous' Maya city states were founded such as: Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Edzna and Coba.

There is no contemporary written evidence about mass warfare in this period, although wall paintings and tomb inscriptions do provide some more tangible evidence and this list has therefore had to be re-created mainly from archaeological finds, Maya wall and tomb paintings, later bark book pictographs and with reference to Conquistadores written observations. It is however, IMO highly likely that the basic structure of the army changed little between the pre and post Columbian period.

Warfare appears to have been structured into raids on enemy city-state spheres of influence - destroying crops, burning agricultural settlements, raiding for slaves and sacrifice and disturbing trade and commerce with the main view being to limit or disrupt a rival cities agricultural production and trade alliances. If things came to a head, a major battle with larger armies would have resulted and this involved a call-out of the agrarian Militia. Typical Mayan tactics appear to have involved starting the battle with a prolonged barrage of sling shot, darts and javelins (to 'soften up' the opposition), followed by ordered charges by small groups of warriors from the main body of the army, rushing out to engage their opposite numbers and attempt to kill or capture the enemy commander and other nobles. This was then followed by a mass advance to combat by the main body of the army.

'holcan' were bands (brotherhoods) of full time, 'professional' mercenary troops, heavily armed with a variety of melee weapons and javelins and darts, armoured in hardened tapir or deer leather or alligator hide corselets. They were primarily hired as shock troops often targeted to specifically attack the enemy commanders bodyguard and kill or capture him and for rapid raids deep into enemy territory spreading fear and disorder.

Warriors (bate'el) are the more 'regular' city state troops, armed with an assortment of light spears, single & double handed clubs (axes), javelins, slings and darts and represent the more urban elements of the army, structured in units based around specific temples. They also appear to have been used to execute larger raids and bolster the Militia in set-piece battles. It appears that like later Aztec 'regular' troops the Maya 'Warriors' trained and drilled together collectively but were individually proficient with their personally selected weaponry.

The Militia (col'cab) - raised from the rural agrarian population - formed a large central body in battle, primarily armed with longer light spears & darts and appear to have acted as a base for the smaller units of Warriors to rush out from and fall back on. They appear to have coped well with dense terrain but not to have been very fluid tactically.

Later Conquistadores descriptions describe the Maya as all being armed with slings (even the Militia), however to represent this effectively within the current constrains of Armati troops types is very difficult, so I have opted to include a larger than usual percentage of SI (armed with slings & darts) in the lists and my suggestion is that these are brigaded within mixed divisions with the LHI and used to screen the 'heavier' troops and would represent those fighters detailed to advance ahead of the main body and deliver the missile barrage. Short of giving all the LHI slings - this seemed to be the best approach.

Bows were used in warfare but in nowhere near the same numbers as slings or javelins/darts. Darts and Javelins were thrown using the Atl-atl but I have not attempted to factor this into the list.

Era: Age of Empires   Classical Maya City State CR: H: 0 L: 5   BP: 2 Init: 6
Number Type   Description Key FV PROT Weapon Cost
1 LHI Bodyguard* k 4[1]2 +1 Various/darts 8
4 LHI Warriors k 4[1]2 +1 Various/darts 7
4 LHI Militia k 3[1]1 +1 Spears/darts 5
3 SI     3[1]2 +2 Various/darts 2
3 SI     3[1]2 +2 Sling 2
1 LHI \'holcan\' k 5[1]2 +1 Various/darts 9
4 LHI Warriors k 4[1]2 +1 Various/darts 7
8 LHI Milita k 3[1]1 +1 Spear/darts 5
4 SI     3[1]2 +2 Various/darts 2
4 SI     3[1]2 +2 Sling 2
2 SI     2[1]1 +2 Bows 2


Core: 1 WD

Bonus: (Max: 4 ) 3-WD, 1-RG, 2-GR


Core: 95 Bonus: 97

* Bodyguard are upgraded to Veterans and are costed as such; the Maya general ('nacoms') must be permanently attached to the Bodyguard

All Militia (both Core & Bonus) must be fielded in a single Division, which can include SI and Warriors (but not 'holcan'or Bodyguard)

1 or more Bonus SI must be bought for each 'holcan' or Warrior unit purchased

A maximum of 1 Bonus SI may be bought for every 2 Militia units purchased

NB: SI with Slings are also armed with darts/javelins

This army can also be used in the Age of Chivalry period with the addition of the following changes:

Change CR to: H:2; L:4; BP:2; Init:5 (10+6+10 =26)

Replace the Core LHI (Bodyguard) and 2 Core x LHI (Warriors) with 3 x WB (Military Orders) [k] 5[1]2 +1 Various@ 8pts (WB: BP4, move 6")

Change Bonus 'holcan' to WB [k] 5[1]2 +1 Various @ 6pts

'holcan' WB are move unit BP3, move 9"

List Author: Aetius