The Papal State

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This article is accurate for the latest versions of EU3, Napoleon’s Ambition, In Nomine and Heir to the Throne 4.1b.
Please help update this page to include information on the DW expansion.

The Papal State
The Papal State.png
At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399
Basic Stats
Government type Papacy
Technology group Latin
Number of provinces 2
Capital province Roma
Center of Trade None
State religion Catholic
Primary culture Umbrian
Other accepted cultures None


Centralization <▪▪▪▪▪▫▪▪▪♦▪>
very decentralized

Aristocracy <▪▪♦▪▪▫▪▪▪▪▪>
quite aristocratic

Serfdom <▪▪▪♦▪▫▪▪▪▪▪>
some serfdom
Free Subject

Innovative <▪▪▪▪▪▫♦▪▪▪▪>
slightly narrowminded

Mercantilism <▪▪♦▪▪▫▪▪▪▪▪>
quite mercantilistic
Free Trade

Offensive <▪▪▪▪▪▫♦▪▪▪▪>
slightly defensive

Land <▪▪▪▪▪▫♦▪▪▪▪>
slightly naval oriented

Quality <▪▪▪▪♦▫▪▪▪▪▪>
slightly quality oriented

Starting in 1399, the Papal State is - by means of economy and military - a minor power on the Italian peninsula, which is divided into several rival kingdoms. The player has control over the provinces of Romagna (including its University) and, most importantly: Rome, the residence of the Holy Father. The south of the Italian peninsula belongs to the Kingdom of Naples, a strong rival with ambitions to unite Italy under his rule, while the north is divided into several minor states and, most notable, the Kingdom of Milan. The government type is "Papacy", a unique government to the Papal States which gives +2.5 magistrates a year - that is ten times more magistrates than a Feudal Monarchy! - which will be very useful later on. The Papal states, and its neighbors Urbino and Naples are no members of the Holy Roman Empire, but every nation to their north is. As a Theocracy, the Papal States are not able to become the Holy Roman Emperor, can neither propose state marriages nor vassalize a state by diplomatic means or Fabricate Claims by the use of spies.


Although the Papal States are in a difficult situation at the beginning, they can be the most powerful nation in the world prior to 1500, gaining control over vast territories all over Europe. The Italian peninsula is wealthy, very well populated and has a high density of Universities, allowing the Player to get an easy advance in Government technology very early. The new papacy mechanics introduced in HttT might be the biggest boost for the Papal States, as the chance to get a cardinal and be the controller of the Holy See is calculated by the Influence on the Pope and the number of catholic provinces a country owns. As the player in fact is the Pope, his influence will never drop below 100% regardless of his infamy or other modifiers, so the Player only needs enough catholic provinces under his rule to dominate the Holy See for the rest of the game. This has two powerful advantages:

  • Each controlled cardinal reduces your Infamy by 0.1 points a year. This is very helpful as it eases the way for military expansion.
  • Excommunication-War-Strategy: The Player is able to Excommunicate every catholic ruler he or she wishes, except the Defender of the Faith. If the target country has too good relations to the Pope, the Player can use diplomatic insults to correct this. This is even more helpful for military expansion, as the "Excommunicated Ruler" casus belli reduces the Infamy penalty for each province demanded in a peace negotiation from 4 to 1 and for an annexation from 8 to 2. No other country can do this easily.

Furthermore, the Papal States can proclaim the Kingdom of God, which adds a base tax of +1 in Rome, allows 10% more soldiers and a yearly prestige gain of +1% while reducing Infamy by 0.05 a year. Although this might sound tempting at first, doing so will deactivate the Papacy irreversibly. If the Player is the controller of the Holy See, he will not only lose the Infamy reduction bonus of his controlled cardinals but also the possibility to excommunicate rulers to do the Excommunication-War-Strategy. One strategy is to delay the proclamation until after January 1, 1650, as on this date excommunications are deactivated by the game engine. If the player still suffers from high infamy another strategy might be to not proclaim the Kingdom of God at all, as controlling all cardinals will permanently reduce the Infamy by 1.5 a year, even after 1650.

Getting Started

Unless the Player allies with Naples right from the beginning, it is much likely that Naples will declare war on the Papal States to seize control over Romagna. To prevent this, a good strategy is to apply for membership of the Holy Roman Empire by using a magistrate to join the Empire with the Papal States capital, Rome. Naples, which is not a member of the Holy Roman Empire and most likely never will be, will then be faced with the possibility of an intervention by the Emperor even if it has a casus belli against the Player. The second step should be to forge an alliance with a more powerful Italian nation like Milan and to build up the Papal State's military to its allowed maximum.

The first mission of the Papal States usually is the conquest of Avignon or Ferrara. A declaration of war against Avignon will most likely cause a French intervention, as it is not only in their sphere of influence but has also its independence guaranteed by them. If the player wishes, he might save the game and do a "trial and error" tactic, but if this is not an option, better advice would be to stay out of Avignon and to get another mission. The Conquest of Ferrara will prove useful later on, but Ferrara is usually well protected by the other Italian states by means of guarantees and alliances. One strategy would be to keep the mission and wait for the right moment to strike, while concentrating on the conquest of the Papal State's southern rivals.

Uniting Italy

Although it is very unlikely to get a casus belli against Urbino, this small country should be the first candidate for an expansion of the Popes rule. The conquest of Urbino will usually cost as stability hit of -2, but this is only a minor problem as stability is regained very quickly. After the conquest of Urbino, the conquest of Naples and Sicily should be the next goal. This might require a military that the Papal States will not be able to keep up for long, so the Player has to analyze the situation wisely, then build up his military and strike fast and efficient. This strategy guide advises to reduce both Naples and Sicily to a one province state as soon as possible after the conquest of Urbino to fund an economic basis for further expansion into the north. The player should then annex both Sicily and Naples as soon as possible, as south Italy offers enough manpower to conquer the north and is often targeted by Iberian nations or even the Ottomans. As Naples leads a personal union with Provence, which is usually attacked very soon by France, a delay might result in the French conquering Naples and seizing control over some of their provinces - the worst possible outcome of all.

After the south of Italy is united, it is very likely that the Player has to stop military actions for a while because of a high Infamy. To avoid unnecessary delays, the Player should use magistrates to boost his cultural tradition to 100% and then recruit level 5 to 6 diplomats, which reduce the infamy by 0.25 or 0.30 a year. Because of the conquest of new catholic provinces, the Papal States now should frequently control some cardinals, who further decrease the countries Infamy and might even be enough to control the Holy See. If so, it is strongly suggested to use the Excommunication-War-Strategy to inherit the northern neighbors. If not, the Player should use his "Conquest of Ferrara" Mission to get into a conflict with the northern states and grab as much land as possible. If Ferrara is not an option, the player either might use warnings and guarantees to get into the conflict or simply take the stability hit and declare war right away. With most of Italy united under the rule of the Pope, it is very likely that the combination of Influence and number of catholic provinces is enough to guarantee the Players control of the Holy See from now on.

Conquering Europe

After most of the Italian provinces are under the Popes control, the Papal States have enough manpower to challenge any of their neighbors military power, with France being their greatest rival. With a good strategy, it is possible to use the British ambitions in France to the Players favor, as both countries usually will be fighting wars against each other, pushing their war exhaustion to unknown limits. A strong military, combined with a well placed Excommunication of the French king will be the path to victory and huge territorial gains from France. It is recommended to use big, cavalry depending armies to break and follow the main army of France until it is destroyed. France will then try to rebuild its military, leading to many tiny army groups of 1,000 men. These can be easily destroyed by one or two "patrolling" armies of 10,000 men, while the remaining forces besiege the French territory.

Austria is another potential target of conquest, but is part of the Empire (or even the Emperor) and often in powerful alliances. Remember: If the Player has made Rome a part of the Empire, the Papal States can declare war on anybody in the Empire when they have a casus belli - like Excommunication - without the possible intervention of the Emperor. If Austria is in a weak position, it is always suggested to conquer them, as they usually own Italian soil and have provinces that contain gold - something the Pope may like.

Basically, it depends on the given situation and the Players ambition where to strike first. As every province conquered means a higher chance of cardinals, meaning an even higher reduction of Infamy a year, the Pope can expand his territory as fast as no other country without going beyond its Infamy cap.


  • Keep the Religion in Europe catholic! Around 1500, some provinces might convert to Protestantism which will lead to some states becoming Protestant. This is not allowed to happen, because Protestant rulers cannot be excommunicated! Get the Unam Sanctum national idea and use its casus belli to convert them by force, then, after the truce runs out, excommunicate them and teach them a lesson for being a heretic.
  • Get the Defender of the Faith as soon as possible and keep it, as the Defender cannot be excommunicated. Also, being the Defender makes it easier to conquer Muslim nations.
  • Tired of Europe? Build up a Fleet, take the Quest for the New World Idea and expand the Kingdom of God to America.

In Nomine


  • You are the Pope.
  • Your troops are very quality oriented
  • You have universities.


  • Can't deviate from the Papacy Government type (which means you cannot form royal marriages)
  • Self religious conversion is not an option, but why would you want to pretend to be a false religion anyway?
  • Only beasts and God can stand alone, man is required to rely on others; this is also true for the Papal States, if you go it alone, your game will be very brief
  • You have universities which other nations desire.
  • You cannot form the united Italy.
  • You empire starts vary fractionalized. Romagna and Roma are not connected.

Papal State in IN 3.2 can be very tricky. Naples is likely to attack you shortly after the start if you don't join the HRE. However, Naples can be easily beaten by using scorched earth strategy and a military access to a neighbouring country. You scorch the earth and escape to the nearby country with a military access. When Naples (or anyone else attacking you) fails to assault the fort and is already weakened by attrition, strike back and destroy their army. Usually their stability is quite low after declaring war, allowing you to hope for rebellions there. With a good timing and a little luck, you are able to beat Naples. A member of the Paradox Forums, tuore, defeated Naples and started conquering the world in his AAR "The Audacity of Pope". When Naples is dealt with, Italy is up for you to take.

Napoleon's Ambition

You begin the game with little money and no allies; your surroundings are as follows;

Sicily is allied with Aragon, so don't even think about fighting them; Siena is beside you along with Tuscany, Modena, Mantua, Urbino, and Milan. Venice is in a war with Milan and Austria, if they are smart should invade Venice as soon as possible. Genoa and Savoy round out Northern Italy. You cannot play it without allies. Lines must be drawn in the sand and, unfortunately, most of your potential beginning alliances are weak at best. If you can get the aid of Austria, do it, they are your key to taking all of Italy. Your first military goal should be to connect Roma with Romagna by either taking Tuscany or Urbino. Then focus on Northern Italy before taking on Savoy or Sicily

Forget about investing in your navy.


  • You are the Pope, so God is on your side.
  • You have a tax collector from the very beginning.
  • You aren't the worst trading power, and some money can be made from trade.
  • Your troops are very quality oriented
  • You have universities


  • Can't deviate from the Papacy Government type (which means you cannot form royal marriages)
  • Self religious conversion is not an option, but why would you want to pretend to be a false religion anyway?
  • Only beasts and God can stand alone, man is required to rely on others; this is also true for the Papal States, if you go it alone, your game will be very brief
  • You have universities which other nations desire.
  • You cannot form the united Italy.
  • You empire starts vary fractionalized. None of your three provinces are adjacent and one of them (Avignon) is in the middle of France.

Ultimate goal

Conquer and convert Constantinople and take back the Holy Lands.

See also


Aachen • Alsace • Aragon • Austria • Avignon • Bar • Bavaria • Berry • Bohemia • Bosnia • Brandenburg • Brittany • Brunswick • Burgundy • Byzantium • Castille • Crete • Croatia • Cyprus • Denmark • England • France • Genoa • Germany • Granada • Great Britain • Hamburg • Hansa • Holland • Hungary • Ireland • Italy • Lithuania • Lorraine • Mainz • Mazovia • Mecklenburg • Milan • Modena • Munster • Münster • Muscovy • Naples • Navarra • Netherlands • Norway • Novgorod • Poland • Pommerania • Portugal • Provence • Prussia • Ragusa • Rev. FranceRomania • Russia • Savoy • Saxony • Scotland • Serbia • Sicily • Siena • Spain • Sweden • Switzerland • Teutonic Order • The Knights • The Papal State • Tuscany • Utrecht • Venice • Wales • Wallachia • Yaroslavl
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