THE IMAMATE OF YEMEN
The Imams of Yemen were people belonging to the Zaidiyyah branch of Shia Islam. They held the view that that an actual physical imam should be there to lead the people and should be knowledgable in the practices of Islam and prove himself as a leader of the people, if neccessary, in battle.
Yemen lies in the cradle of Arabia, and was directly influenced by the rise of Islam in the 7th Century. Its cultures and people were affected hugely and their whole lifestyle was changed. But throughout the course of history, after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the deaths of the 4 Khalifas, and the fall of the Muslim Khalifate, Yemen has been split with the different sects and doctrines of the Ismailis in the west and center and the Zaidis in the north. This has hugely affected the growth of Yemen and its emergance as a military power.
The Imamate started around 897 AD when al-Hadi ila al-Haqq Yahya became the first Zaydi Imam, his capital and seat of power was established in San'a. He was widely known for his intellect and his qualities as a leader which led to the development of the rules of the religion of Yemeni Zadyism as well as the political entity of the Zaidi Imamate. However al-Haqq Yahya was not able to keep power and develop a functional government or administration due to revolts of people who did believe his views and actions to create his type of Zaidi state. Nevertheless, his descendants, became the leaders of the society of Yemen for many years to come and future Imams were selected from his lineage only.
After Imam Yahya's death, his Imamate fractured into numerous families and dynasties that established themselves in different parts of Yemen including the low coastal plain called the Tihami as well as in the highlands of Yemen. Throughout this period of time, Yemen was rarely a unified force in Arabia, its borders were constantly changing and it had no regular leaders which meant that Yemen never really flourished into a political force in Arabia.
However, now with the threat of the Ayyubids looming large, as their large army lead by Turanshah approaches the Yemeni lands, the Imamate is fractured, divided and stricken with internal strife and war due to the death of the previous Imam, Ahmed bin Sulaimaan. With Ibadist Oman to the east and the newly formed Sunni Ayyubid Sultanate to the north, the Zaidi Imamate faces a war of religion as well as military conflict with these two nations. You must lead the Imamate in a fight for land to become the true Imam and unify the people of Yemen to become a political and military force in Arabia. The Ayyubid threat is of the highest priority and will be your first threat as you attempt to lead the Imamate of Yemen into a golden age. Then, expansion into the east into Oman will be an ideal target as well as expansion into Africa. The fate of Yemen is in your hands....
Yemen Factional Units
The Imamah Infantry form the bulk of the Yemeni infantry in the early part of the campaign. They are fiercely loyal to the Imamate and are very good at combatting enemy horsemen. They can also be used to hold up enemy infantry but their light armour does not make them suitable for long, drawn out battles with the enemy. Their strong spears and dropform shields make them ideal for neutralising the enemy cavalry and have sufficient protection and strength to attack the enemy infantry. Their light armour does not contribute much to their fatigue thus enhancing their endurance which in turn enhances their morale making them ideal warriors to fight in the desert heat for many hours.
Imamah Heavy Infantry
These are the late period heavy infantry which will hold up the enemy the best. Their combination of spear with heavy armour and large, round shields makes them ideal for long, drawn out battles with the enemy as they are unlikely to be hurt easily. Their spears make them great soldiers for defeating cavalry and can be used for many other roles for example to fight toe to toe with the enemy. However their increased armour and protection does have side effects which are increased fatigue and slower speed. This hurts their manouverability making them less a type of unit for fast, lightning attacks and more of a steady advance. They, like the regular Imamah Infantry are fiercely loyal to their Imamate and Imam and will stop at nothing to fight for the victory of the Ummah!
Al Rajalah in Arabic means footmen. These are the foot soldiers that will form the bulk of the Yemeni armies. They are easy to recruit and train and have enough skill and strength to fight competitive battles against the enemy. The Al Rajalah are accomplished and capable with the straight sword and are a match for anyone. Their willingness to fight along with their fiery determination are powerful factors which could affect the course of a battle. The Al Rajalah use small round shields with their swords for protection against the weapons of other enemy footmen and have chainmail underneath their garments for extra protection and endurance. Their best suited role is to fight toe to toe with the enemy as they are not very fast and have enough armour to be accomplished at close-quarters fighting.
These are the cream of the crop of the Yemeni Army. They are drafted in from the rich nobles of Yemen and posses the weapons and armour of the highest quality. They ride on horseback with a round shield which is beautifully decorated and also use a spear as a primary weapon. They wear the finest lameral have helmets underneath their turbans. This makes them great soldiers for a variety of roles including shock cavalry and the sort of cavalry that can defeat enemies in a battle of attrition. Their morale and fitness is of top level but their limited numbers comes as a downside. They are hard to recruit and are very limited so they should be used carefully and not wasted as they are the wildcards in the army of Yemen.
Al Fursan means The Knights in Arabic. Their strength, speed and skill make them a nightmare for the enemy and are excellent horsemen. Their chainmail armour and large shields make them perfect as shock cavalry who can smash into enemy lines and break their ranks, potentially leading to the routing of the enemy. Trained from a very young age in the art of warfare, these knights can easily fight and win against many of the enemy and their discipline and skill on horseback is outstanding. They are best suited as shock cavalry but their chainmail armour and swords allow them to compete well in close combat for long periods of time.
Tihami Warriors come from the Tihamah region of Yemen which is the narrow coastal region beside the red sea. This region is known to be one the hottest regions on earth with a normal day's temperature to be around 43 degrees Celsius, allowing the warriors to be brought up from there to be the toughest around. However some parts of the Tihama is cold and some parts are the most beautiful in Arabia. The warriors mostly live in the highlands of the Tihama. They can withstand all kinds of heat, and are naturally brought up to withstand the desert heat which is a valuable skill for an Arab warrior. They have unmatched stamina and fitness in the desert and their morale is exceptional. The Tihami Warriors are swordsmen and footsoldiers usually armed with straight Yemeni swords but have no shield or much armor for that and only have a shirt and a garment to cover their legs. This leaves them vulnerable to close combat with heavily armed opposition as they will be cut apart in no time. They tend to be too lightly armed for long, drawn out battles but their sword skill and toughness makes up for most of their defects.
These were the immigrants and mujahiddin of Tabarstan who fought in the side of Imam Al-Hadi in tabrastan in the 9th century and then they came with him to Yemen. They highly respect the Imam and they are very loyal to him leaving no doubt in the people who they serve. The Zaidi Taberstanis are javelinmen who have a very accurate and deadly aim. Their rich clothes give a clue to their noble and important background and their morale and commitment is shown in battle when they display their valour and courage by rarely breaking the line and fleeing. Armed with axes for close combat, the Zaidi Taberstanis can be tough opposition in a swordfight and can hold their own against any enemy.
These are the Nubian merceneries and slaves from Ethopia. Armed with javelins and swords, these soldiers make great auxilary units in an army and are best used to help the main bulk of the army by hurting the enemy from afar using javelins. They can be used in the latter stages of the battle to fight close combat and finish of the enemy. As Nubian slaves, these men are looked down upon by the Yemeni people, but are still good soldiers that can fight but their morale is no way near the morale of elite soldiers of the like of Imamah Heavy Infantry. This makes them liable to flee at small signs of defeat in battles which could lead to its loss so these soldiers should be used wisely.
Yemen Tribal Units
Mathahj is a Arab Qahtanian tribe known with a lineage that goes from their grandfather mathahj ibn udad ibn Zayd ibn yashjub ibn Oraib bin Zaid bin Kahlan bin Saba bin yashjub bin yarub ibn Qahtan. And Mathahj is his fame name , but his real name is "malik". The tribe Mzhj is spread out in Yemen while many and spread into the Arabian Peninsula. Mathahj ,of the oldest and most prestigious tribes, are the tribes of her receipts and the tours of the battlefields of war, the tribe was first met by all the tribes of Adnan. The Prophet Muhammad also mentioned the Mathahj as having the most of its tribe members in Paradise. The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him: "I entered Paradise and I found more people of Yemen, and found more people of Yemen from Mathahj" The Mathahj have had a big role in Yemen, especially in the spread of Islam conquests where Mathahj contributed to the Islamic conquests and helped the Muslim Khalifate in the wars of apostasy and had a great warriors for example Farwa Ben Mesayk al Moradi. The Mathahj normally carry and use javelins in battle, they have some light armor as a skirmish and auxilary unit and normally do damage from afar although they are capable of close combat fighting.
The Yafea are an Yemeni tribe and their lineage is yafea ibn zaid ibn malik ibn zaid ibn himyar ibn saba ibn yarub ibn qahtan. The Yafea are renowned to be huge, feared, very tough-with pride and dignity and fierce Arab nationalism. They do not hold much loyalty to the leader of Yemen but their tribe can be used as powerful soldiers to fight for Yemen. The region in which the Yafea reside is very large and spacious giving them good space to live. The Yafea are footmen who carry bows but have very little armour, wearing only shawls as an upper garment and a small piece of cloth for their lower garment. This makes them vulnerable in close combat however their fierceness and strength aids them in close combat as well as in using the bow to fire arrows a very large distance by using all of the bow's draw length.
Hamadan is an important and big Qahtani tribe with a glorious history and in the 12th century it was ruling San'a under the rule of the Hamadani Emirate Bani Hatem. They are a well known Yemeni tribe since the 1st Millenium BCE and have numerous offshoots including Hashid and Bakil.
These tribesmen are excellent horsemen who use a spear and have a large shield with minimal armour to give them outstanding speed and flexibility as their main use is their charge which can break the ranks of the enemy and often cause them to flee. Their shields protect them slightly from spearmen and arrows but reduces manouverability. They are generally stronger and more skilled than many tribes around their area which is partly the reason for their glorious history.
Nahid is a tribe from Yemen, its lineage is nahid ibn zaid ibn layth ibn aswad ibn aslam ibn alhafi ibn quthaah ibn qahtan and is one of the strongest and biggest tribes of Yemen. It is said that the most glorious tribe of quthaah is Nahid. They mostly live in Yemen and south Arabia. They normally come to battle on horses and wield long ranged bows for deadly ranged attacks on the enemy. They do not wear much armor making them light and agile, great for lightning strike tactics against the enemy. The speed of their horses also makes them very hard to catch making the excellent for leading the enemy into a trap.
The Khawalan tribe are a tribe in Arabia who normally live around Yemen and Hijaz. Their lineage and legacy is khawlan ibn amr ibn alhaf ibn quthaah ibn himya ibn saba ibn yaroub ibn qahtan. They were very close to the Imam of Yemen and held great loyalty towards him. They have reaped the rewards of this but has also made them gain enemies. The Khawalan ride camels into battle and are mainly skirmish troops. They are javelin throwers on camels and are excellent in accuracy making them useful troops in the battlefield. Their camels however limit their speed but they can be expected to stay in the field as they are loyal and not liable to fleeing at the first sign of danger. They wear turbans and complete garments giving them some protection but not much.
The Al Mahrah are an Arabian tribe from qutha'ah which are from himyar who are from qahtan, living between Oman and Yemen and some parts of Suqatarah island. They were successful traders and they have one of the greatest type of camels in Arabia which was the mahri camel. The Al Mahrah were known for there trade and their language which is close to the old himyari south Arabian language of ancient Yemen. They mainly rode on camels of which they were expert riders on and also used long ranging bows. This combination of a mount and bow allows the Al Mahrah to wittle down the numbers of the opposition and wear them out by staying out of range. They wore shawls of different colours but other than that had little protection so are not the best to be used in close combat. They are however armed with swords as a secondary weapon so if the need arises for the camel rider to go into close combat, they have a worthy weapon to aid them.
Early in the 3rd Century AD, the Kindah tribe was a Kahlani branch of the Sabaean kingdom of Marib in central Yemen. Follow the victory of the Kingdom, a branch of Kindah established themselves in Hadramaut while most returned to Marib, their homeland. Among the most famous Kindites is Imru' al-Qais who was the son of the last Kindite kings who tried (unsuccessfully) to reserruct his father's kingdom. He was also a well known pre-Islamic Arab poet. and in the islamic age the tribe had important figures like al-Kindi the Philosopher of the Arabs
The Kindah use small axes for their primary weapon. It is easy to use with one hand and gives their attacks great speed. They also wear shawls across their body as clothing which makes them very light but vulnerable to damage as they have no form of defence or protection. They are normally foot soldiers that can be used as shock infantry.
Zubaid is a large Arab tribe spread around many areas including Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Their history is very decorated as their first leader was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). His name was Saad bin Maadi Karb. Another decorated figure in the tribe of Zubaid was Amr ibn Maad ibn Yakrub.
They are skilled horsemen with strong lances and typical straight Arab swords for close combat. Their light armour gives them great flexibility and speed in battle which is very useful for the charge, withdraw, charge strategy adopted by many Arab tribes. However the lack of a shield and the light armour protection for both rider and horse leaves them vulnerable to spears and spearmen. The Zubaid's excellent ability on horseback makes them ideal soldiers but their recruitment is limited to Arabia as that is where the tribe members are.
The Azd were originally a branch of the Sa’anaite Kahlan tribe that migrated to the fertile coasts of Oman in the 3rd century A.D. Powerful warriors, their tribal fortunes give them access to better armaments then the typical soldier. Finely made mail jerkins and Yemeni Kattara topped with a turban helmet give these swordsmen an edge over the other tribes. They are a great asset to the Imam in Yemen and to glorify the name of Azd. The Al Azd are well versed in the art of sword fighting and are fierce warriors in the field. Good soldiers for the Imam and Yemen and their skills will be useful to fight for the Ummah!
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