| Elephantes Indikoi|
|Unit type||War elephant|
|Base cost||200 Food, 10 Metal, 20 Wealth|
|Ramping cost||3 Wealth|
|Creation time||6.7 seconds|
|Line of sight||2|
|Population cost||1 Population|
As if being larger, tougher and stronger wasn't enough, Elephantes Kataphraktoi Indikoi or Indian Cataphract Elephants are capable of carrying a more varied crew and more armour, making them the toughest elephant unit in the game. In addition to the default pikeman, these units can also carry composite bowmen capable of attacking enemies at range, in addition to their ability to trample enemies in melee, thus making them even more dangerous, especially when they are on the march. So heavily armoured are these pernicious pachyderms that slingers and archers are all but ineffective.
It should be mentioned that Cataphract Elephants are highly powerful if used to knock down enemy towers but NOT strengthened defences, so if you play against a faction that can recruit them, upgrade your Watchtowers on the double, and ready the pikes and javelins.
Aside from horses, elephants are the only other animal in the world to have been used by humans for combat duty. The best war elephants in the known world were said to come from Sri Lanka, whose elephants were said to be the most easily trained of them all — in Sri Lanka itself, archaeological evidence suggests that elephant handling took place as early as the 1st century BCE. So valuable were elephants to the local economy (they were exported to the Indian mainland), that the many kingdoms which flourished on the island made them a protected species.
The first major encounter of the West with elephants may have been at the battle of Gaugamela in 331BCE, outside the present-day city of Mosul in Iraq, where the Macedonians may have captured fifteen of them from Darius III's baggage train. A more substantial encounter with war elephants however was to take place on the banks of the Hydaspes river in 326BCE (present-day Pakistan), where Alexander's army suffered heavy casualties in battle against an Indian army fielding as many as 80 war elephants.
Impressed, the Greek successor states that sprang up after Alexander's death at Babylon soon began fielding elephant armies of their own. Following a war with the Mauryan kingdom, Seleucis I Nicator and the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta came to a deal in wihch a portion of Seleucid holdings in India would be permanently ceded to the Mauryan empire, in exchange for a herd of 500 war elephants. In contrast, the Egyptians were forced to recruit the smaller African (or "Libyan") elephants, while the vast resources and sheer size of its Seleucid enemy meant that the Seleucids were able to count on imports of speially trained elephants from India to bolster the killing power of its armies in combat as long as it retained political control of the valuable trade routes to India. Indian war elephants were also imported by the Greek kingdom of Epeiros, and were notorious for inflicting heavy casualties on Roman armies during the Pyrrhic Wars waged in southern Italy.
- Nossov K & Dennis P; War Elephants; (2008) Osprey Publishing
- Jacobsen B C, The Deadliest Blogger: Military History Page; Armies of the Macedonian Successor States: The Seleucids