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Osprey Men-at-Arms 320 : Armies of the Caliphates 862-1098

Some historians divide history into periods dominated by one civilisation. Greece, Rome, India, China, Western Europe and North America have all had their moment in the sun, but from the 8th to 11th centuries the Islamic world led the way. At the start of this Islamic golden age the Sunni Muslim 'Abbăsid Caliphate, with its capital at Baghdad, ruled virtually the entire Islamic world. A characteristic of this time was the 'Iranianisation' of most armies and a more limited 'Turkification' of their cavalry élites. Nevertheless, many traditional Arab military values were retained by non-bedu armies, such as physical toughness, wily warfare and an avoidance of casualties. Arab ideals of manhood had also been inherited, above all the idea that men should do something to promote what they believed in, rather than accept insult or injustice passively. Similarly, family origins counted for relatively little, and greater respect was given to individual achievements. The Muslim faith remained central to the motivation of soldiers, whether professionals or part-time volunteers. Religious scholars also played an increasingly important role in most armies, for both legal and morale-boosting reasons. As authority fragmented, armies became smaller and more professional, while part-timers were relegated to urban militias and the frontiers. David Nicolle examines the recruitment, organisation, weaponry, costume and uniforms of the armies of the Caliphates from 862-1098, accompanied by numerous illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Graham Turner.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Heartlands and Frontiers
  • Recruitment
  • Organisation
  • Weaponry
  • Costume and Uniforms
  • Tactics
  • Naval Warfare
  • Africa
  • Further Reading
  • The Plates

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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