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Author Topic: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry  (Read 703 times)

badhabum

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3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« on: March 05, 2024, 10:09:23 AM »
For now the infantry is categirised as tribal close, superior, protected, shieldwall, potentially integral shooter and melee expert.

After readin "Guerres & Histoire" Hors série 9, juillet 2020 La Guerre au Moyen âge I am wondering why  !

one article about the Arab conquest points out that :

- 390 CE : Ammien Marcelin describe the Arabs as nearly naked except for a loincloth and that's how they are represented on a sculpture " Chamelier Iglum" at the Louvres that scuplpture dating end VI century
-690 CE  Syrian priest jean Ban Penkayé describes the conquering arabs as naked, without armour or shields,
- 1199 CE Patriarch Michel le Syrien sends spies and the report is that arabs are without shoes equipment or supplies

It sates that it seems VIIth century arabs do not seems to be well protected either by armour or shields and that Capih Umar  sates that mail armour is an Inder hance for mounted or foot soldiers

The Shâh Nâmeh would state that sassanian  general Rostam would have said : I have arrows that can go trough steel but they are worthless against those naked warriors,

Yet conquest going on, equipment would slowly be bettered,

The article goes on to describe a mobile kind of warfare with sudden charges , quick moves .

So I wondered about the close infantry, protected and shieldwall

Would tribal flexible, unprotected, fleet of foot and impact weapon not be a better view. Quick marching armies that outclassed but fearless would win against all odds just like years later the Almogavars would do ? Those are flexible, unprotected, AV/SUP at the beginning and gain armour a bit later and so loose the fleet of foot

I am curious to read your inputs about it but perhaps there is a good reason why those raiders are close, shieldwall etc..

lionheartrjc

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2024, 01:11:25 PM »
The only Iglum stele image in the Louvres I can find doesn't include a naked warrior and is dated to 1st - 2nd centuries CE.  Can you provide a link?

Interesting comment about the arrows!  Maybe shooting unprotected troops should be downgraded?  I presume it is the numbers that is the problem, the arrows are effective against a small armoured mounted unit but ineffective against the volume of warriors in the Arab army.  Does he actually say naked warriors - that sounds suspicious to me.  Again have you a link to a translation?

I don't think a reference in the 12th century is relevant.

No Arab would actually be naked; the sun is far too strong to make it feasible in the Arabian peninsular - you would burn rapidly.  All Arabs wear loose clothing to protect from the sun. Negro troops might avoid burning but wouldn't be present in any numbers in conquest armies.

The classification is based upon how the Arab Conquest armies appear to have fought - actually remarkably controlled and disciplined and resilient to Byzantine cavalry.  Given how successful the early conquest armies were, they would quickly have access to captured equipment.

Richard

nikgaukroger

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2024, 02:51:51 PM »
On archery al-Baladhuri has an account from a participant at a-Qadisiyyah:

"“I took part in the battle of al-Kadisiyah when I was still a Magian. When the Arabs sent their arrows against us , we began to shout, ‘duk! duk!’ by which we meant their spindles. These spindles, however, continued to shower upon us until we were overwhelmed. Our archer would send the arrow from his Nawakiyah bow, but it would do not more than attach itself to the garment of an Arab; whereas their arrow would tear the coat of mail and double cuirass that we had on.”.

Skilled Arab archers?  ;D
"The Roman Empire was not murdered and nor did it die a natural death; it accidentally committed suicide."

nikgaukroger

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2024, 02:59:25 PM »
The classification is based upon how the Arab Conquest armies appear to have fought - actually remarkably controlled and disciplined and resilient to Byzantine cavalry. 

There is quite a consistency amongst historians about this - for example Kennedy, Kaegi, Donner and Nicole. Whilst the conquest armies had strategic mobility and speed, in battles solid, steady, cohesive behaviour is exhibited - with the occasional individual seeking martyrdom being somewhat less so  :o
"The Roman Empire was not murdered and nor did it die a natural death; it accidentally committed suicide."

badhabum

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2024, 10:32:36 PM »
The only Iglum stele image in the Louvres I can find doesn't include a naked warrior and is dated to 1st - 2nd centuries CE.  Can you provide a link?

Interesting comment about the arrows!  Maybe shooting unprotected troops should be downgraded?  I presume it is the numbers that is the problem, the arrows are effective against a small armoured mounted unit but ineffective against the volume of warriors in the Arab army.  Does he actually say naked warriors - that sounds suspicious to me.  Again have you a link to a translation?

I don't think a reference in the 12th century is relevant.

No Arab would actually be naked; the sun is far too strong to make it feasible in the Arabian peninsular - you would burn rapidly.  All Arabs wear loose clothing to protect from the sun. Negro troops might avoid burning but wouldn't be present in any numbers in conquest armies.

The classification is based upon how the Arab Conquest armies appear to have fought - actually remarkably controlled and disciplined and resilient to Byzantine cavalry.  Given how successful the early conquest armies were, they would quickly have access to captured equipment.

Richard

It's all in french so might be difficult to translate as it's not a PDF .

I'll try to look at it but I was rather busy this last day.

Now yes the arabs were quite successful but the almogavars , later, were also surprisingly successful even vs more numerous and better equipped opponents and by being fleet of foot they have good mobility better than tribal close arabs  8)


nikgaukroger

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2024, 05:55:55 PM »
It sates that it seems VIIth century arabs do not seems to be well protected either by armour or shields and that Capih Umar  sates that mail armour is an Inder hance for mounted or foot soldiers


It is instructive to look at the whole passage that this comes from:



It is not making any comment on the prevalence of mail - or indeed any of the other items mentioned.
"The Roman Empire was not murdered and nor did it die a natural death; it accidentally committed suicide."

badhabum

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2024, 03:37:34 PM »
If we follow David Nicole, and Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashidun_army, so yes the infantry would be good, equipped with some form of armour, fighting in close rank but also disciplined so is tribal the right  choice for MEG ?

I am not familiar with arab armies

I am not asking for any changes but the article made me curious and still arabs seem to have been described as not having a lot of amour perhaps some kind of levies and some warriors would be better equiped as for other armies European, Asian ..it's rather common .

Now I only had a quick look at the battle of Yarmuk and what did strike me is that there were many infantrymen on both sides and that the arab infantry did not always have the best of it . So I am wondering if SUP for everyone is not a bit too much even for the arab conquest as the arab army seem to have been on the verge of being routed but their womenfolk managed to give them enough courage to go back  :D so SUP because of women or because of religion that we will never know .

So would it be a matter of being SUP or drilled ( well organised, good coordination with the cavalry ...) I do not know

But it's not a matter of live and death !

I am happy with the list as it is


LawrenceG

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Re: 3101 Early Arab Conquest infantry
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2024, 11:48:13 AM »

No Arab would actually be naked; the sun is far too strong to make it feasible in the Arabian peninsular - you would burn rapidly.  All Arabs wear loose clothing to protect from the sun. Negro troops might avoid burning but wouldn't be present in any numbers in conquest armies.


Richard

Arabs from south Arabia can be pretty dark. The Muslims did have rules obliging them to cover up, I think it is neck-to-knees for men, but earlier Arabs were more scantily clad, weren't they?  However, the ancients often used the term "naked" simply to mean "unarmoured" so that might be the sense in which it was being used in the quote.

By the way, armour-piercing arrows are less effective against unprotected targets than arrows designed for them. Modern day bow hunters don't use bodkins.