Syrian States

Syrian States

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Historical Overview Section

Many Moslem states existed in Syria after the Seljuk Turk centrally controlled empire crumbled after the Byzantine-Seljuk wars, and by the turn of the millenium Syria was a patchwork of alliances between Moslem and Crusader entities.

  • Alleppo was among the foremost, coming under Arab control after the Fatimid conquest in 1000. The city was twice besieged by Crusaders — in 1098 and in 1124 — but was not conquered.
  • Antioch had been held by the Byzantines until 1078 when Armenians seized power which they held until the Seljuk Turks captured the city in 1084, but held it only fourteen years before the Crusaders arrived to conquer it again.
  • Damascus was independant from 978 but when under attack from a Turkish-led campaign the city surrendered to Fatimid rule. From 1029 to 1041 the Turkish military leader Anushtakin was governor of Damascus, but with the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the late 11th century, Damascus again became the capital of independent states. It was ruled by a Seljuk dynasty from 1079 to 1104, and then by another Turkish dynasty - the Burid Emirs, who withstood a siege of the city during the Second Crusade in 1148 . In 1154 Damascus was conquered from the Burids by the famous Zengid Atabeg Nur ad-Din of Aleppo, the great foe of the Crusaders. He made it his capital, and following his death, it was acquired by Saladin, the ruler of Egypt, who also made it his capital. In the years following Saladin's death in 1193, there were frequent conflicts between different Ayyubid sultans ruling in Damascus and Cairo. Damascus was the capital of independent Ayyubid rulers between 1193 and 1201, from 1218 to 1238, from 1239 to 1245, and from 1250 to 1260. At other times it was ruled by the Ayyubid rulers of Egypt.
  • Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099, who created the Kingdom of Jerusalem but in 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin. In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Kharezmian Tartars who were in turn driven out by the Mamluk Egyptians who ruled there from 1250-1517.
  • The Zengid Dynasty rules other parts of Syria (including some of the above cities) after the rise to power of Seljuk Atabeg of Mosul in 1127, from which he quickly became the chief Turkish potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo in 1128, and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders in 1144 until his assassination by a slave two years later, in 1146. On Zengi's death, his territories were divided with Aleppo and Edessa falling to his second son, Nur ad-Din Mahmud. Nur ad-Din proved to be as competent as his father as in 1149 he defeated and killed Prince Raymond of Antioch in battle, and the next year conquered the remnants of the County of Edessa west of the Euphrates River. In 1154 he capped off these successes by his capture of Damascus from the Burid Emirs who ruled it. In the 1160s, Nur ad-Din's attention was mostly held by a competition with the King of Jerusalem, Amalric I, for control of the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt. Ultimately, Nur ed-Din's Kurdish general Shirkuh was successful in conquering Egypt in 1169, but Shirkuh's nephew and successor as Governor of Egypt, Saladin, rejected Nur ad-Din's control and he unexpectedly died in 1174. His son and successor As-Salih Ismail al-Malik was only a child, and was forced to flee to Aleppo, which he ruled until 1181, when he was murdered and replaced by his relation, the Atabeg of Mosul. Saladin conquered Aleppo two years later, ending Zengid rule in Syria.

Using the army in FoG

  • Mixing lancers and Bw/Sw cavalry is always tough
  • Does this army need foot? Maybe not, as they end up a target and can be run down by anything armoured.
  • Deploying lancers at the end of deployment order gives maximum flexibility
  • Average Lancers are not good enough in almost all circumstances
  • LF archers always come in handy.

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Crusader, Early : Dates: 1096 to 1150 Swords and Scimitars page 5 : Armoured Knights don't really cut it, and at least 2 x 4 foot spears and crossbows make this somewhat underpowered
  • Crusader, Later : Dates: From 1150 Swords and Scimitars page 9 : Proper knights from 1150 onwards armoured spearmen and some MF Crossbows - not to be sniffed at
  • Syrian States (Internal Ally) : Dates: Any Swords and Scimitars page 29 : Compulsary Bw/Sw cavalry, optional cavalry and LH lancers, more Bw/Sw - and some cheap foot units. Worth looking at
  • Arab Cities : Dates: Any Swords and Scimitars page 33 : A spikey load of lancer cavalry and LH, quite useful to add to most shooty cavalry outfits
  • Bedouin : Dates: Any Swords and Scimitars page 35 : Loads of lancers, with a cute minima of 4-16 LH lancers. Tasty!
  • Khwarazmian : Dates: 1246 Swords and Scimitars page 35 : Bw/Sw Superior Armoured Cavalry, and Bw/Sw LH or Protected Cavalry to support - fairly standard Arab ally

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.

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

Name of Army / Date:Syrian City States, post 1150

  • 3 x TC
  • 3 x 4 cav arm, sup, drilled, bow, sword - ghilmen
  • 3 x 4 LH unp, ave, undrilled bow, sword- turkomans
  • 2 x 4 LH unp, ave, undrilled, lancer, sword- bedouin
  • 2x 6 HF prot ,poor, undrilled, defensive spear+ 3 LF unpr, poor, undrilled, bow- adath milita
  • 1 x crusader ally gen- TC
  • 1 x 6 kn, h arm, sup undrilled, lancer, sword- crusaders
  • 1 x 4 hf prot, undrilled, ave def spear
  • 1 x 4 mf ptf, undrilled, ave cbw

800 AP list
1x IC
2x TC
2x4 Ghilman (CV Armoured Superior Bow Sword Drilled)
2x4 Syrian Lancers (CV Armoured Superior Lancer Sword Undrilled)
2x4 Syrian Lancers (CV Armoured Average Lancer Sword Undrilled)
3x4 Turcomans (LH Unprotected Average Bow Sword Undrilled)
1x4 Bedouin Cavalry (LH Unprotected Average Lancer Sword Undrilled)
2x9 Ahdath Milita (2/3 HF Protected Poor Def. Spear Undrilled 1/3 LF Unprotected Poor Bow Undrilled)
1x4 Armoured Spear (HF Armoured Average Def. Spear Undrilled)
1x6 Foot Archers (MF Unprotected Poor Bow Undrilled)

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

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