Sunday 4 June 2017

Under the Black Banner

To build new DBA armies, I decided to move up the timeline of military history to the latter half of the 7th century for my next project. This was an unknown realm of history other than the Arab conquests had reached the frontier of India in the east to the shores of the Atlantic in the west. During my initial research I was confronted with an enormous amount of choices, so to make this project an enjoyable one I needed to focus and narrow my selection to one ‘kingdom’. The selection fell on the Abbasid Caliphate.  

Looking at the Abbasid army list, there are two time periods showing little difference between the composition of army, but do offer significant differences among its list of enemies. These includ the Abyssinian, Christian Nubian, Tibetan, Tang and the Thematic Byzantine plus a host of Muslim dynasties that emerged during the collapse of the caliphate.

Compared to the Severan project (3rd century Rome), which accumulated 49 armies at last count, this one will be small by comparison and should reach a completion by the fall season. To order and paint the armies, I plan to do this in two steps. Step one would take care of the Muslim armies as these would have similar dress and weapons would be the easiest to paint and inexpensive to purchase. Step two would add a few of the non-Muslim enemies listed above and these would require some planning as Old Glory (Timecast UK) do not offer Tibetan, Tang or Abyssinians.  

Aside from the large number of Muslim armies (Umayyad, Abbasid, Dynastic Bedouin, Muslim North African, and Tulunid) the biggest challenge will be to make each army distinct despite their similarity of dress.

I have already bookmarked and filed sufficient information for a number of campaigns and these will of course appear here but not necessarily in chronological order. That would depend on the speed of delivery and painting of the armies.

Map: The Caliphate in 750 AD.

Source: Historical Atlas of Islam by Malise Ruthven, Azim Nanji.

Next posting, the Christian Nubian.

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