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Historical Overview Section

The Ghaznavid Empire was a Khorasanian Sunni Muslim state founded by a dynasty of Turkic Mamluk origin, which existed from 975 to 1187. It was founded by Alp Tigin who established himself at Ghazna (modern Ghazni, Afghanistan) in 962. He competed with other Khurasanian Dynasties Samanid Mamluk generals for the governorship of the province of Khorasan and with it, control of the entire Khurasanian Dynasties Samanid empire by intriguing to place Emirs favourable to him on the Samanid throne. In 961 a succession crisis threw this intriguing into disarray and open conflict which saw Alp Tigin prudently retire to his fief of Ghazna. The Samanid successor dynasty were eventually hard-pressed by a third great Iranian dynasty, the Dailami Buwayhids and eventually in turn fell again to the Ghaznavids.

The great expansion of territory came under Saboktekin, who conquered much of current Afghanistan and the Punjab (then ruled by Khurasanian Dynasties and Shahi dynasties). In 997, Mahmud succeeded his father and went on to complete the conquest of Samanid, Shahi lands, the Ismaili Kingdom of Multan, Sindh as well as some Buwayhid Dailami territory. This era was a golden age for the Ghaznavid Empire, but a rather rough old time for their neighbours as Mahmud carried out seventeen expeditions through the region, establishing control, setting up tributary states and looting of a great deal of plunder. From the borders of Kurdistan to Samarkand, from the Caspian Sea to the Yamuna river in Northern India, he established his authority and brought back loads of elephants as well.

Mahmud died in (1030) and his son Mas'ud struggled to preserve the empire and following a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Dandanaqan (1040) lost all the Ghaznavid lands in Iran and Central Asia to the Seljuk Turks. His son Ibrahim re-established a smaller empire by agreeing terms with the Seljuk Turks, and so with a peaceful stable Western border he continued to raids the Later Hindu North Indian Rajput rulers territory. When Masud III died in 1115 things started to unravel and a messy situation ended with Sultan Bahram Shah taking power only as a Seljuk Turk vassal. The Ghurid Afghans conquered the Ghaznavid Capital Ghazni in 1151, razing the city which was only restored to the Ghaznavids by the intervention of the Seljuk Turks. The Ghurid Afghans continued to steal bits of Ghaznavid territory, as did the Oghuz Turks although Ghaznavid power in northern India continued until nearly 1186 when the Ghurid Afghans again were the root problem.

Using the army in FoG

  • Elephants should stick together or at least in 2 groups of 4.
  • MF can provide rear support to 2 BGs of elephants and hide there.
  • Horse archers skirmish en masse with ghilmen to mass fire
  • Nafatun shoot at angles to add fuel to the fire to reduce CT tests
  • Terrain: load up on uneven, imappsable or at least terrain that doesnt provide cover or reduce visibility
  • Don't commit the elephants if the ghilmen and LH have something to soften up first.
  • With a very shooty army that also has the heavy undrilled Elephantry to manage, you might consider swapping 2 TCs for an Inspired. Shouldn't be hard to keep at least some of the Elephants within his aura. Bonuses on the CMT don't hurt Ghilman either.
  • You are likely to be at +2 PBI with the number of LH and cavalry, so getting +4 should help make it easier to use consistent doctrine game to game.
  • keep some Bgs of elephants until later in deployment to make the most of the placement of the last 2 BGs of Elephants.

UK Tournament Results with this army

13 / 27 Ghaznavid Britcon 2007 15mm (open)
1 / 16 GHAZNAVID Scottish Open 2008 (open)
26 / 27 Ghaznavid Britcon 2007 15mm (open)
4 / 27 Ghaznavids Britcon 2007 15mm (open)

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

The Ghaznavid were still, despite their elephants, firmly a Turkish/Mamluk successor state and so Ghilman cavalry and other similar ranges will be OK for them. 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

800 AP list used at Hubcon

  • 4 LH, Bw
  • 4 LH, Bw
  • 4 LF Unprotected Average Gunners
  • 12 Spear/LF Bow Undrilled Armoured Average Deaf Spearmen
  • 4 Ghilmen
  • 4 Undrilled MF, Lt Spear
  • 2 Elephants
  • 2 Elephants
  • 4 Ghilmen Cavalry
  • 4 Ghilmen Cavalry
  • 6 Impact Foot Dailami
  • 2 Elephants

Name of Army / Date

  • 4 LH, Bw, Sword
  • 4 LH, Bw, Sword
  • 4 LH, Bw, Sword
  • 4 cheap but fun Naffatun
  • 4-strong cheap Afghan Padding Infantry Unit
  • 4 Ghilman Cavalry Armoured Superior
  • 4 Ghilman Cavalry Armoured Superior
  • 4 Ghilman Cavalry Armoured Superior
  • 4 Ghilman Cavalry Armoured Superior
  • 6 Arab LH, Lancer Swordsmen
  • 8 Armoured Drilled Superior Dailami Impact Foot
  • 2 Elephants
  • 2 Elephants
  • 2 Elephants
  • 4 TC Generals


  • 4 TCs
  • 4 * 4 superior armoured Ghilman cavlary
  • 4 * 2 elephants
  • 3 * 4 light horse archers
  • 1 * 4 MF filler
  • 1 * 4 nafatun

  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

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

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