Fatimid Egyptian

Historical Overview Section

The Fatimids entered Egypt in the late 900s, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty and founding a new capital at al-QÄhirat (Cairo) in 969. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas from the Seljuk Turks until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria - they even crossed over into Sicily and southern Italy. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz

The Fatimids fought the Early Crusaders from the moment the First Crusade invaded Fatimid territory and started the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099. Soon after, the Early Crusaders stormed and captured the city, setting off a war between the newly established Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and Fatimid Egypt. Al-Afdal Shahanshah mounted a series of invasions against the Early Crusader kingdom from 1100 to 1107 but they were ultimately unsuccessful. After this, the viziers contented themselves with launching frequent raids on Early Crusader territory from the coastal fortress of Ascalon. To protect against the raids from Ascalon, the Crusaders began encircling the strategic port with a ring of castles built between 1136 and 1149, eventually leading to the the fall of Ascalon.

This rather emasculated Egypt which ceased to be a threat to the Crusader states until the rise of Saladin, as the Fatimid regime broke apart into warring factions. From 1163 to 1169, Egypt became the prize of a struggle between King Amalric of Jerusalem and Nur ed-Din of the Syrian States as the Fatimid factions invited one side or the other to intervene in their civil war. In 1169, Nur ed-Din's general, Shirkuh seized Cairo for the last time and proclaimed himself ruler of Egypt before dying suddenly two months later. Nur ed-Din appointed Shirkuh's young nephew Saladin as his successor. As directed by his sponsor, Saladin ruthlessly stamped out Shi'ite Islam in Egypt, which had flourished under the Fatimids but instead of acting as Nur ed-Din's vassal, Saladin consolidated power in his own hands and deposed the last Fatimid caliph in 1171.

Egyptian armies of the period historically relied on masses of Sudanese bowmen supported by Arab and Berber cavalry. Since the archers were on foot and the horsemen awaited attack with lance and sword, a Fatimid army provided exactly the sort of immobile target that the Early Crusader heavy cavalry excelled in attacking. Except for the third battle of Ramleh in 1105, when Toghtekin of Damascus sent a contingent of Seljuk Turk Ghilmen to help the Egyptians, the Fatimids generally did not use loads of horse archers.

Whereas the Crusaders developed a healthy respect for the harass and surround tactics of the Turkish horse archers, they tended to discount the effectiveness of the Egyptian armies. While overconfidence led to a Crusader disaster at the second battle of Ramleh, the more frequent result was a Fatimid defeat. "The Franks never, until the reign of Saladin, feared the Egyptian as they did the armies from Muslim Syria and Mesopotamia."

Fatimids in Sicily A Fatimid Emirate existed for a time on Sicily when Fatimid caliph Ismail al-Mansur appointed Hassan al-Kalbi (948–964) as Emir. He successfully managed to control the continuously revolting Thematic Byzantines and founded the Kalbid dynasty, launching raids into Southern well into the 11th century. In 982 the Early Medieval Germans under Otto II tried to stop these raids but were defeated near Crotone in Calabria. Dynastic conflict under subsequent Emirs saw factions within the ruling family allying themselves variously with the Nikephorian Byzantine Empire and the Early North African Dynasties of the Zirids. By the time of Emir Hasan as-Samsam (1040-1053) the island had fragmented into several small fiefdoms.

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Podcast Lockdown #11
Tamsin's List
4 Mamluks Elite
2 Syrian Lancers Elite
2 Turkomans Elite LH Bow
2 Armenians MF Bow
3 A'bid Mixed
2 LH Impact
Syrian Ally, Included, Allied, Competent
2 Syrian Lancers HC Impact Elite
1 Turkic Ghulam Elite
2 LH Bow Turkomans Elite

Tim's List
2 A'bid Mixed
2 Mamluks Elite
2 Syrian Lancers HC
2 Armenian Bw
Competent Included
2 Bedouins MCv Impact
2 Mamluks HC Bow Elite
1 Arabian Lancers HC
1 Bedouin LH Impact
2 Mamluks Ordinary
1 Turkoman LH Elite
1 Mamluks & General Elite

200 Points

  • 3 of these
  • 4 of these
  • etc
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