- Only buildable by "Roman" cultures
A cataphract was a form of armoured heavy cavalry used in ancient warfare by a number of peoples in Western Eurasia and the Eurasian Steppe.
The word in English is derived from the Greek: κατάφρακτος Kataphraktos (plural: κατάφρακτοι Kataphraktoi), literally meaning "armoured" or "completely enclosed". Historically, the cataphract was a very heavily armoured horseman, with both the rider and steed draped from head to toe in scale armour, while typically wielding a kontos or lance as their weapon.
Cataphracts served as either the elite cavalry or assault force for most empires and nations that fielded them, primarily used for impetuous charges to break through infantry formations. Chronicled by many historians from the earliest days of Antiquity up until the High Middle Ages, they are believed to have influenced the later European knights, via contact with the Byzantine Empire.