Historical Overview Section

The Moorish kingdoms of North Africa had been around since the times of Rome & Carthage, but threw off the yoke of Rome as their power waned at the end of the 4th Century. A sign of things to come was the revolt of Gildo, a Berber by birth but who served in the Roman army and became (in 386) Comes Africae and Magister utriusque militiae per Africam. Gildo ruled the area with a large degree of independence, and after the death of Emperor Theodosius leveraged his stranglehold over Rome's vital grain supply, even seriously entertaining the idea of leaving the West and joining the Eastern Roman Empire. The possibility of losing the granary of Rome led to civil turmoil in the city, and acting on an appeal by Stilicho, the Roman Senate declared Gildo an "enemy of the State" and started a war against him. Despite its superiority, Gildo's army melted in front of the superior discipline of the Roman army and Gildo was obliged to flee.

After the fall of Rome the Germanic kingdom of the Vandals ruled much of the area until a century later they were displaced by the Early Byzantine kingdom as the regional power. Even so, neither Vandal nor Byzantine exercised an effective rule, the interior being under Moorish Berber control. For over 50 years, the Berbers resisted Arab Conquest armies from the east, memorably was that led by Kahina the Berber prophetess of the Awras, during 690-701. The new faith, in its various forms, would penetrate nearly all segments of society, bringing with it armies, learned men, and fervent mystics, and in large part replacing tribal practices and loyalties with new social norms and political idioms. Nonetheless, the Islamization and Arabization of the region were complicated and lengthy processes. Whereas nomadic Berbers were quick to convert and assist the Arab conquerors, not until the 12th century, under the Almohad Dynasty, did the christian and jewish communities become totally marginalized.

The first Arab military expeditions into the Maghrib, between 642 and 669 CE, resulted in the spread of Islam. These early forays from a base in Egypt occurred under local initiative rather than under orders from the central caliphate. But, when the seat of the caliphate moved from Medina to Damascus, the Umayyads (a Muslim dynasty ruling from 661 to 750) recognized that the strategic necessity of dominating the Mediterranean dictated a concerted military effort on the North African front. In 670, therefore, an Arab army under Uqba ibn Nafi established the town of Qayrawan about 160 kilometers south of present-day Tunis and used it as a base for further operations. Abu al Muhajir Dinar, Uqba's successor, pushed westward into Algeria and eventually worked out a modus vivendi with Kusaila, the ruler of an extensive confederation of Christian Berbers. Kusaila, who had been based in Tilimsan (Tlemcen), became a Muslim and moved his headquarters to Takirwan, near Al Qayrawan.

But this harmony was short-lived. Arab and Berber forces controlled the region in turn until 697. By 711, Umayyad forces helped by Berber converts to Islam had conquered all of North Africa. Governors appointed by the Umayyad caliphs ruled from Kairouan, capital the new wilaya (province) of Ifriqiya, which covered Tripolitania (the western part of present-day Libya), Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. The spread of Islam among the Berbers did not guarantee their support for the Arab-dominated caliphate. Many of the ruling Arabs alienated the Berbers and as result, widespread opposition took the form of open revolt in 739-40 under the banner of Kharijite Islam. The Kharijites objected to Ali, the fourth caliph, making peace with the Umayyads in 657 and left Ali's camp (khariji means "those who leave"). The Kharijites had been fighting Umayyad rule in the East, and many Berbers were attracted by the sect's appeal.

Using the army in ADLG

  • Mostly an army you'd take to try the Mediocre Camel gimmick rather than as a particularly tourney-tiger option, but if you can avoid enemy shooting the "-1" for facing Camels on all enemy mounted is still not to be sniffed at.
  • Possibly the 546-548 Justinian ally option is the most competitive, but then you are really building a 3-command army around a core of allied Byzantine cavalry, a Mediocre Camel corps and a mass of LH to sweep round a flank on a very open table

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