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 (788â€“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 (828â€“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 (904â€“917), it still lost significance through internal strife and attacks from the Fatimid dynasty and after defeats by the Fatimids in 917â€“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 Ë¤AbdullÄh al-MahdÄ« Billah, who legitimised his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter FÄtima 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:
- Fanaticus banner download page with some banners that can be used for this army
- Register and you can put you own link in here and then write some brief detail about the link here
- put the link text readers will see in here write some more detail about the link here
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.
- Essex Miniatures - many generic Arabs, possibly too generic for todays tastes in their Ancients selection, plus a newer 50-strong Arab range of more tailored figures in their Crusades ranges that may be more suitable
- Donnington - 35+ arabs
- Museum Miniatures - several nice Arab/Persian/Turkish ranges, often using the same figures in each!
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Previously Black Hat) 33-strong Crusades Moslems Range
- Old Glory 15's, several Arab Ranges
- Minifigs Venerable Crusader range with Arabs
- Irregular Miniatures 39 Arab & Turk figures from a generic range
- Lancashire Games - Several large "value" packs of Arab troops
- LKM Direct - Freikorps ranges have Medieval Turks
- Tin Soldier 16 Arabs in one range
- Outpost Wargame Services A specialist in this period/region, 30+ Crusade-period Islamics
- East Riding Miniatures Some berbers in a small El Cid Range may be suitable
- Khurasan Miniatures again a specialist period for Khurasan, with several Persian/eastern ranges
- Viking Forge several Arab & Turkish ranges
- Falcon Figures Ottoman range
- Battle Line Miniatures 27 Generic Arabs
- Eureka - Australian Site Grumpys Miniatures Perian & Afghan Ranges are quite fun
- 50 Paces.com their website shows an "Arab" range, but no figure codes listed
Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.
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