Early North African Dynasties

Early North African Dynasties

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Historical Overview Section

The Arabs reached the Maghreb in Ummayad Arab times. Their control over it was quite weak. Various Islamic "heresies", such as the Ibadis and the Shia, adopted by some Berbers, quickly threw off Caliphal control in the name of their interpretations of Islam. The Arabic language became widespread only later, as a result of the invasion of the Banu Hilal (unleashed, ironically, by the Berber Fatimids in punishment for their Zirid clients' defection) in the 1100s. Throughout this period, the Maghreb most often was divided into three states roughly corresponding to modern Morocco, western Algeria, and eastern Algeria and Tunisia. The region was occasionally briefly unified, as under the Almohads, and briefly under the Hafsids). There were seveal major dynasties covered by this list.

The Aghlabids ruled the region nominally on behalf of the Abbasid Caliph for about a century from 800 (when the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid appointed Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab as hereditary Emir of Ifriqiya as a response to the anarchy that had reigned in that province following the fall of the Muhallabids). Although independent in all but name, his dynasty never ceased to recognise Abbasid overlordship. The regions founding had its own problems with a revolt of Arab troops in 824, which was not quelled until 836 with the help of the Berbers. The Aghlabids also conquered Byzantine Sicily from 827 to 902 when the last Byzantine outpost was taken. Plundering raids into mainland Italy took place until well into the 10th century. Gradually the Aghlabids lost control of the Arab forces in Sicily and a new dynasty, the Kalbids, emerged there. The decline of the dynasty began under Ibrahim II ibn Ahmad (875-902). Control over Calabria was lost to Byzantium, an attack by the Tulunids of Egypt had to be repelled and they also had to contend with a revolt of the Berbers.

The Idrisids were founded by Idris ibn Abdallah (788–791) who was persecuted by the Abbasid Arab Dynasty and fled to the Maghreb in 786 where he was taken in by the Berbers and created a kingdom of his own. The Idrisid realm was also extended through campaigns into the high Atlas Mountains and against Tlemcen, with the result that the Idrisid state became the most significant power in Morocco. Under Muhammad (828–836) the kingdom was divided amongst eight brothers (what could possibly go wrong....?), whereby several Idrisid statelets formed in northern Morocco (oh - that could go wrong.... doh!). This led to intensified power struggles and the weakening of the Idrisids. Even when the realm was reunified under Yahya IV (904–917), it still lost significance through internal strife and attacks from the Fatimid dynasty and after defeats by the Fatimids in 917–920 the Idrisids were driven from Fez and eventually ended up as a series of small strongholds in the Rif mountains.

The Fatimid Caliphate was founded in 909 by ˤAbdullāh al-Mahdī Billah, who legitimised his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter Fātima hence the name "Fatimid". The Caliphate soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which they ruled from Mahdia, a newly-built capital in Tunisia. The Fatimids entered Egypt in the late 900s, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty and founding a new capital at Cairo in 969 from which point the Fatimid Egyptian list takes over.

Using the army in FoG

  • To all intents and purposes this can be thought of as a Bosporan army, but with more sand and less static grass on the bases
  • Your best troops are the Superior Lancers, which work well with the LH Lancers - so make a plan that uses them to the maximum
  • Consider using as few spear as possible - maybe even make them poor and keep them to guard the camp
  • Or, if you must, 2 BGs of 12 poor defensive spear + archers. They are super cheap and cover 8 base width of frontage, and have half a chance against some mounted. Even if they die, its only 2 BGs

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


Put information on allied contingents here - including recommendations on which to use, and why

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site. This listing only covers "arabic" figures - Turk/Hunninc/Mongol figures are omitted as nearly everyone does some of them.

Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

  • 3x TC
  • 3x 9 (6+3) Hf(protec/aver/def spear) + (LF arch)
  • 1x 9 (6+3 Hf (prot/aver/light spear) + (Lf arch)
  • 2x 4 Cv (arm/sup/lance/sword)
  • 3x 4 LH (unp/aver/light spear/jav)
  • 1x 6 Lf (unp/avr/light spear/jav)
  • 1x 6 Lf (unp/avg/sling)
  • 1x 8 Mf (prot/aver/bow)
  • 1x ATC (byzantine)
  • 2x 4 (arm/sup/bow*/lance/sword)

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 19:00:13 GMT by admin. (Version 11)
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