EB1: Illyrioi Hippeis are equipped with spears and one-handed axes. These horsemen are ideal for riding down routing infantry and attacking the flanks of vulnerable phalanxes.
EB2: The Illyrian cavalry are well-respected as medium cavalry, relatively quick, deadly and resilient. They are best used to skirmish with other cavalry and harry enemy flanks.
EB1: The Illyrioi field a light cavalry that has surprising tenacity on the battlefield. Armed with spears and axes, they are ideal for riding down routing infantry and attacking the flanks of vulnerable phalanxes. While not quite as useful as some cavalry, they have a definite presence as a somewhat inexpensive all-purpose melee cavalry.
Historically, the Illyrioi were a people that inhabited modern Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro. They were greatly influenced by their Hellenic neighbors to the south and their Makedonian neighbors to the east, but managed to stay fiercely independent until conquered by Philippos of Makedonia and Alexandros of Epeiros. That same fierceness allows them to be a reliable and fitting unit for any Epeirotes general that is clever enough to control the wild Illyrioi provinces.
EB2: These cavalry are noblemen from among the Illyrian tribes and kingdoms. They are accustomed to warfare, whether among themselves or against the Thraikes, Galatai, or Hellenes, which means they have been tested against many capable cavalry. They wear better armour than most Illyrians can afford, including impressive helmets, some greaves, and various sorts of thorakes. Their shields include both the traditional peltai of the Illyrians and spined round shields, faced with motifs like the Illyrios serpent. They carry multi-use spears for skirmishing and melee, in addition to swords and daggers.
The Illyrians are a people well-practised at warfare, whose weaponry and manner of fighting are cousins to those of the Hellenes, and even closer to those of the Makedones. In more recent years, the unparalleled rise of the Makedones has created some separation, and many Makedones now sneer at the Illyrians who live on the opposite slopes of the same mountains. Not long ago their armies would have been nearly indistinguishable, but the haughty Makedones have forged ahead, and the Illyrioi remain much the same, save for bits of equipment borrowed piece by piece from the Galatai.
Historically, the Illyrians were a people that inhabited the northern part of modern day Albania and were bordered in the south by the Greeks of Eperios and Aitolia, and in the east by Makedonia and Thessalia. Thus, they had to adapt their warfare to fight these enemies, a task they became frighteningly good at. By the time of Philippos of Makedonia, they had carved out a fairly large kingdom at the expense of Makedones and Epeirotai. Philippos married Olympias of Epeiros and retook the Makedonian and Epeirote provinces for their respective owners, using Parmenion to take the Makedonian portion back. His son Alexandros, a product of this marriage alliance against the Illyrians, attacked, subdued, and won over many of the Illyrian tribes. Fairly large contingents of his light infantry in the Persian conquest were of Illyrian extraction. They won their independence once more after Alexandros@ death, but were never again to become a major power. The Illyrioi as a people were extinguished by the Romanaioi and Illyria became the first Roman province outside of the western Mediterranean. The Illyrians adapted quickly to Roman culture and became the first extremely loyal non-Italic subjects of the growing Empire.
These cavalrymen are one of the most versatile light cavalry and if used well can win unexpected battles. Their cheap recruitment and upkeep hides their highly effective role as shock cavalry, quite capable of unleash a charge comparable to a heavy cavalry and their speed allows them to retreat from most threats, kill routing units or repeat another charge.
As they are lightly armored, they must not engage in melee combat although with their lethal axes they can perform a secondary role in supporting heavy or medium cavalry in melee.
All-in-all an excellent unit for any faction.
In Europa Barbarorum 2, they are now medium cavalry armed with javelins for use in skirmishing or hitting lightly armed units at a distance. Being well armored and equipped with both shield and sword makes them quite effective in chasing away enemy skirmishers or ranged units.
They can also be used to attack the flanks of the enemy line or support other cavalry in the field but should not be engaged in melee combat for long against spearmen or heavy cavalry.