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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.
After the revolt, Kharijites established a number of theocratic tribal kingdoms, most of which had short and troubled histories. But others, like Sijilmasa and Tilimsan, which straddled the principal trade routes, proved more viable and prospered. In 750, the Abbasids, who succeeded the Umayyads as Muslim rulers, moved the caliphate to Baghdad and reestablished caliphal authority in Ifriqiya, appointing Ibrahim ibn al Aghlab as governor in Kairouan. Though nominally serving at the caliph's pleasure, Al Aghlab and his successors, the Aghlabids, ruled independently until 909.
This is an incredibly underpowered list, barely worth the ink its been printed with, Massed average light foot javelinmen form the core (ahem) of the army, with huge numbers of relatively useless light horse armed in similar fashion. 12 Vandal & Byzantine cavalry won't fix this in a hurry.
Rated E: The Later Moorish are not actually hopeless. Having 2 BGs of non-skirmishers available and able to exert some force beyond skirmish shooting is going to be a key component of army doctrine as they will be the bait as well to draw the enemy out. Flank marching and really good terrain doctrine are also critical, complicated by having LH that prefer open ground and LF that prefer terrain. It's skirmish, surround, converge shooting and grind the enemy down - facing an enemy IC can be daunting for a skirmish shooting army that finds it hard to mass converged shooting.
Numidians, who can have a fair number of heavy troops, are a stronger army list - either serves to provide a player challenge.
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
Look for Moorish, Nubian, Roman-era Numidian and generic early Arab ranges for figures for this army.
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
- Essex Miniatures Numidians and Arab ranges
- Donnington Numidians, Blemmeye, many Arabs as well
- Museum Miniatures Various Arab ranges
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Previously Black Hat) Biblical ranges with Nubians, and Moors in their Dark Ages ranges
- Old Glory 15's, Biblical ranges, Numidians and Arabs
- Magister Militum Numidian and Arab ranges
- Minifigs Biblical, Numidian and Arab ranges
- Irregular Miniatures Arabs, Sudanese, Berber ranges
- Lancashire Games Pre-Islamic Arabs and some biblical era figures for Nubians
- LKM Direct Auxumite range may work here
- Tin Soldier Arabs, and some Numidians in the Carthaginian ranges
- Battle Line Miniatures (NZ) Blemeye range
- Corvus Belli Numidian range
- Isarus - sold by 15mm.co.uk Blemeye Range
- Outpost Wargame Services some of their arab troops may work
- East Riding Miniatures Grumpys Persians might do at a pinch?
- Viking Forge generic Arabs
- Hall of Ancient Warriors You may find something lurking in their Egyptian ranges
- Falcon Figures Biblical Nubian range
- Eureka - Australian Site Abyssinians
- 50 Paces.com
- Warmodelling.com Numidians in a Carthaginian range
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
Name of Army / Date
- Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
- 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