Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 41 to 55 of 55

Thread: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

  1. #41

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    [QUOTE=antaeus;16036162]I've highlighted the important parts.

    Because you're trying to discover a consistent theme of military weakness that only works if you ignore the vast time scale you're looking at
    The time scale is unimportant because I didn't get out of the Middle Ages. If we were talking about different eras with significant societal, military, political changes etc, your point would be valid, but since it was a relatively stagnant era, it isn't.

    ignore the occurrences that disagree with your hypothesis.
    I explained them quite a few times, another thing is whether you have read them, or whether you have understood them

    Do you know the thing about "the exception that confirms the rule" anyway?

    Islamic states were established, grew and lasted for centuries and fell within your time period. They developed distinct ethnic identities. These states won countless victories during their time, they built vast cities, some conquered vast swathes of territory spanning from Sub Saharan Africa to Spain. They defeated Christian armies and yes, they conquered Christian lands. They also fought between each other, and allied with Christian states against other Christian states, and against other Islamic states. They repeatedly solved the military problems of their times with differing strategies, sometimes failing, sometimes winning.
    I don't see what this has to do with anything.

    But to see the loss of Granada to Isabella and Ferdinand's canons as somehow consistent with a narrative born in Pelayo's resistance 700 years earlier is to look for meaning in the snow.
    I hope you are not seriously implying the Spaniards defeated Granada thanks to "canons"

    You are basically trying to say there can be no common factor(s) that can explain the trend I am speaking about because the time period is long (irrelevant, as I already explained) and because there were exceptions to that trend (absurd, because there are exceptions to every rule)

    I mean, it's as if I said Europeans weren't vastly militarily superior to Africans from the 19th century onwards because Zulus, Ethiopians, and a few more African peoples won battles against Europeans. It would be absurd, wouldn't it?

  2. #42
    Praeses
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,675

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Its plain there wasn't a global "Muslim inferiority" to Christians across the millennia from the rise of Islam to the 17th century when religious identity in Europe ceased to be locked to national identity. At times there were strong Muslim and Christian polities with stronger or weaker military systems, state systems, leadership and circumstances.

    The rise of Islam took place at a time of Roman and Iranian exhaustion, but maintained impetus for a century of grand conquest without a particularly remarkable or persistent military system suggesting social and political factors, as well as initial favourable circumstances. I think genuine religious belief (and divided faith among their enemies) contributed too. The ruling elite seem to have been 100% Arab in the first generation but Islamic identity was permeable and many cultures (especially Iranian, but later Turkic and others) became thoroughly Islamicised. The population from which leadership and elite participation could be drawn was quite wide.

    I think the "tide of Islam" was checked in France because in the late Merovingian/early Carolingian state it met a system which could reliably respond to continued raiding (which at least in the Maghreb and Iberia often developed opportunistically into conquest). The Aquitanian state under Odo the Great had one great victory in them, then it was "run".

    Karl the Hammer could rally an army to resist at Poitiers (pls lets not say Tours who TF names a battle after a place the fighting never even reached?) and maintain ongoing wars with neighbours without collapsing, probably because of the strong Frankish polity which allowed some elite participation through the warriors assembly (a feature of the surviving Iberian states IIRC) and a rough federal structure which permitted regional legal variation and allowed subkingdoms to divided and reunite (also a pattern that occurred among the northern Iberian kingdoms which survived the Conquista).

    I think local peoples in Francia and Aquitaine for whatever reason were less cooperative with potential conquerors, whereas in Southern Iberia they probably accepted foreign rule. Not sure if this plays into some "Basque stronk" narrative but its notable in other areas that Roman rule, which by 700 focussed around an Hellenic cultural identity, Roman Law and a version of orthodoxy imposed from councils held close to or in Constantinople rapidly lost their grip on miaphysite provinces with local identities that mixed Hellenic with Syriac and Egyptian culture. By contrast the wider "Greek orthodox" and iconoclast subgroup that enjoyed elite support provided a stable heartland for the Romans for 800 years.

    I'm pretty ignorant of the reconquista, the little I know of Iberia suggests it is a patchwork of local cultural identities and civic centres no one has united the peninsula since the Romans and arguably Philip II. The Christian kingdoms did have an ancient tradition of cortes (long predating English parliamentary system which is obviously a French introduction post 1066) so perhaps by including more people in rule they mobilised more support from their initially smaller population bases?

    I also wonder about the role of the knightly orders. I recall the origins of the knightly orders are obscure but some Iberian ones may have predated the more famous crusading orders. Certainly Iberia was well equipped with knightly orders in the hottest phase of the Reconquista, and provided a channel for concerted aggression against Islamic states separated from political realities of kingdoms (which might make war and peace as circumstances required). I believe there were similar institutions for channelling ghazis from across the Caliphate into Iberia in the Iberian Islamic tradition, this may have influenced the evolution of orders, but AFAIK knightly orders have a strong aristocratic cast whereas I think of ghazis as motivated believers of many social castes.

    However the Reconquista also coincides with a change in Islamic rule from an Arab elite to a North African elite, which may have been (paradoxically) more narrowly based socially, with fewer links to the wider world of Islam, and less able to mobilise external resources, at a time when Castile Aragon etc were instituting knightly orders as a channel for pan-Christian (or at least Western Christian) zeal.

    So I'd suggest Iberian Christians survived and reconquered perhaps because the shared a version of the wider "Frankish" (western European post Roman) political system which meant their rule was more broadly based than more centralised, narrowly based states.

    Once the Islamic state/states of Iberia developed a narrower base of rule they became more vulnerable and a defeat of the military leadership might at a stroke remove or seriously reduce their political leadership, as happened with Lombards, Visigoths etc).

    At the same time as the Islamic network was reduced in scope by a narrower ethnic base of rule the Christian knightly orders opened up a channel for pan-"Frankish" (western European feudal Christian) military resources with a specific anti-Islamic mission, reversing the previous resource opportunities.

    Of course I could be wrong. There's a very swift Sicilian/South Italian Reconquista carried out be largely Norman elites (very narrowly based) that did enjoy strong papal support (so some pan-"Frankish" resources) and initially a more Islamic looking multi-ethnic administrative approach. Its seems there were no knightly orders involved beyond the usual social/military concept of a feudal warrior ordo. Perhaps in Sicily we see some indication of the pattern for Iberian Christian success?
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  3. #43

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Its plain there wasn't a global "Muslim inferiority" to Christians across the millennia from the rise of Islam to the 17th century when religious identity in Europe ceased to be locked to national identity. At times there were strong Muslim and Christian polities with stronger or weaker military systems, state systems, leadership and circumstances.
    I maintain that there was a "global" military inferiority, and I apported enough data about well known battles that seem to indicate this, so I don't see the need to repeat them, besides making a guess that this inferiority was more accute from the moment knights came to the fore: an elite class of warriors whose needs were covered so that basically they could spend all their free time training to be warriors, in addition to having enough ressources to acquire the best mounts and weaponry available. Why Muslims (until perhaps the Mamluks) couldn't develop such a caste of warriors entirely devoted to war is a mstyery that I think would be worth answering. It is not to say Arabs for example did not have elite warriors: they did (The mubarizun of the Rashidun army, warriors whose only goal was to defeat rival champions in single combat, totally bada** if you ask me), and had their own version of chivalry (furusiyya) but they simply couldn't make good enough "knights".

    But this was coupled with a difficulty in creating stable political entities. Muslims had it much harder at creating states that would not dissolve once the strongman was gone because of one thing: tribalism, which was coincidentally a feature of almost all the peoples that embraced Islam, from North Africa to Arabia. So you not only had the problem of an ethnic group (initially the Arabs) trying to dominate the other Muslim groups, you had also rival tribes / clans within one ethnic group competing with each other. Whereas Christian states did squabble among each other but simply did not nearly experience as much internal conflict, in addition to having more or less stable political institutions (which tribalistic societies lacked) that allowed them to construct, with varying degrees of success, more stable states; this circumstance is another factor imo that explains their success during the Medieval period, and specially beyond the Medieval period.

    So I'd suggest Iberian Christians survived and reconquered perhaps because the shared a version of the wider "Frankish" (western European post Roman) political system which meant their rule was more broadly based than more centralised, narrowly based states.
    I agree, and they shared a certain "Iberian/Hispanian" ethnic identity as well.

    I also wonder about the role of the knightly orders. I recall the origins of the knightly orders are obscure but some Iberian ones may have predated the more famous crusading orders. Certainly Iberia was well equipped with knightly orders in the hottest phase of the Reconquista, and provided a channel for concerted aggression against Islamic states separated from political realities of kingdoms (which might make war and peace as circumstances required). I believe there were similar institutions for channelling ghazis from across the Caliphate into Iberia in the Iberian Islamic tradition, this may have influenced the evolution of orders, but AFAIK knightly orders have a strong aristocratic cast whereas I think of ghazis as motivated believers of many social castes.
    This is correct, I think only nobles could join the holy orders as knights (sergeants did not need to be nobles) and those constituted an elite core whereas ghazis (or, more broadly Muslim religious volunteers in general) could be anything from experienced warriors to cannon fodder.

    However the Reconquista also coincides with a change in Islamic rule from an Arab elite to a North African elite, which may have been (paradoxically) more narrowly based socially, with fewer links to the wider world of Islam, and less able to mobilise external resources, at a time when Castile Aragon etc were instituting knightly orders as a channel for pan-Christian (or at least Western Christian) zeal.
    The Berbers dynasties indeed seem to have aleniated the broad Al-Andalus population, mainly due to their rigorous outlook on Islam. However, nothing indicates they ever had difficulty in drawing foreign help or in establishing contacts with the wider Muslim world (the Almoravids, at last were recognized by the caliph, and the Almohads were able to recruit bodies of foreign mercenaries like Turkish horsemen), and if one look at the given numbers, they didn't seem to have that much difficulty in mobilizing ressources, at least in terms of soldiers, if not from the population of Al-Andalus, from their North African land; however, it is true that, as happens with every tribalistic society, military power is essential to maintain one's rule, and when all this power disappears (especially if you have recently subjugated a land whose inhabitants don't want you), so does whatever precarious state they managed to create.

  4. #44
    Praeses
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,675

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad82 View Post
    ...
    I agree, and they shared a certain "Iberian/Hispanian" ethnic identity as well.
    My impression is that the various Iberian ethnic identities vary very strongly, with regionalism still a marked feature of the modern Spanish State (not to mention separate Portugal) despite often harsh and enduring attempts (especially those from Madrid) to impose a common identity?

    My ignorant impression is of the Gothic/Suebian North and North West and the Frankish march of Barcelona providing two contrasting styles of medieval state, leaving aside further regional substrates like Basque and other (pre-roman?) cultural traditions.

    I feel geography and external system like feudalism and the Church give amazing coherence to Iberia, countervailing indigenous and introduced cultural and geographic and economic divisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad82 View Post
    ...This is correct, I think only nobles could join the holy orders as knights (sergeants did not need to be nobles) and those constituted an elite core whereas ghazis (or, more broadly Muslim religious volunteers in general) could be anything from experienced warriors to cannon fodder....
    A quick Google reveals there's some discussions about Ribyats, as foci for ghazis to operate in Iberia and North Afrcia.

    Medieval myths aside, a relatively small force of armoured cavalry could make an enormous difference as we see with the Christians at the siege of Antioch (IIRC there were less than a thousand knights mounted by the time the Damascenes arrived but they were crucial in scattering the relief force).

    That said one off victories could be ameliorated by more consistent military systems that could field disciplined armies repeatedly, and didn't need to win ever single battle eg the Mamelukes and later Janissaries, as opposed to the Crusader states that found their knightly manpower incredibly hard to replace as crusading fervour ebbed. Perhaps Iberia benefited from the interference in Islam by the Turkic invasions as well as the less important Crusader incursions and all too brief East Roman revival under the Komnenids? There were probably only so many ghazis to go around.

    I guess the increase in the use of shock cavalry by Iberian Christians is influenced by their access to wider European resources 9ttrade and other sources of wealth) and manpower (knightly orders) precisely at the time Iberian Muslims networks are reducing through the fragmentation of the Caliphate, and narrower ethnic base of rule.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  5. #45
    swabian's Avatar igni ferroque
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    4,068

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    I don't wanna pretend I can add something really good to the discussion, but it was interesting to follow the thread and I just give my 2 cents, whatever.

    @Conrad: I mean... Ottomans? Janissaries? Mamluks? I'm sure there are more examples of fearsomely competent soldiers and warriors in the Muslim world throughout history. The crusaders sure had some spectacular victories, but they were also basically a military based enterprise, supported by many European countries and even rich individuals who would attack ill prepared single Middle Eastern powers. This usually works all the time: You get a bucnh of fighters of whatever sort from many sources and attack one far away city and its surrounding castles, conquer them and from there gang up on their neighbors. Until someone like Saladin manages to field a force that is enough to drive out the occupiers. It was pretty much the same with Charles Martel and his Franks against Muslim Raiders and with the Spanish Reconquista

    What is generally accepted is that from the 17th century onwards, European forces generally outmatched pretty much everything else in the world, not only forces fielded by cultures that were historically (and still are) strongly associated with Islam.

    I would argue, though, that this was even 250 years earlier, when European innovations really took off already. Be it the superior plate armor, the horse breeding, the increasingly refined battlefield strategies and tactics... it was clear long before 1600 that western Europeans would be able to dominate any battlefield. The only exception were the Ottomans, until the 17th century.

    But this has nothing to do with Christian culture versus Muslim culture (which is both about books, spouse battery and kneeling in front of some kind of idol) and everything to do with European innovation outmatching everything else in the world.
    Last edited by swabian; July 10, 2021 at 01:20 PM.

  6. #46
    antaeus's Avatar Cool and normal
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    5,203

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    I would argue, though, that this was even 250 years earlier, when European innovations really took off already. Be it the superior plate armor, the horse breeding, the increasingly refined battlefield strategies and tactics... it was clear long before 1600 that western Europeans would be able to dominate any battlefield. The only exception were the Ottomans, until the 17th century.
    But you could argue, that even prior to the capture of Constantinople, that the Ottomans were becoming a European power with their own domestic hubs of design and development of technology - and as evidenced by their involvement in grand alliances with European powers during the 16th and 17th centuries, that crusading zeal only occurred towards them when it acted as a justification for broader strategic plays. By the time of the late renaissance, European religious fervour was being targeted inwards as often as out, as the Catholic world fragmented.

    On the other hand, it could be argued that the Reconquista continued during this period after the fall of Granada as the Spanish and Portuguese pushed into Morocco, and during this phase Moroccan leaders saw significant success (The destruction of the Portuguese at Alcazar and the conquest of the Songhai Empire), but they were in essence, now a fringe player in the bigger European conflicts using English or French guns and Ottoman money.

    In some respects, the Ottoman successes during the early modern, bore some of the same hallmarks as those of the Spanish - and occurred over the same time period. Both emerged from a sea of tiny partly feudal partly tribal warring statelets who took off partly thanks to the internal frailties of the larger territories that once dominated them. In both cases religious fervour acted as an impetus for expansion, but only when convenient. And then we could also ask stupid questions of the Greek world: was there an ongoing Orthodox societal inferiority when compared with expanding Islamic powers? (which just like with Islamic powers in Spain, there wasn't)
    Last edited by antaeus; July 11, 2021 at 01:49 AM.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB MARENOSTRUM

  7. #47

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    My impression is that the various Iberian ethnic identities vary very strongly, with regionalism still a marked feature of the modern Spanish State (not to mention separate Portugal) despite often harsh and enduring attempts (especially those from Madrid) to impose a common identity?
    There is regionalism and even separatism, but that doesn't mean every region does not have the feeling they share a "Spanish", or in the case of Portugal, a loose "Iberian" identity, with a shared culture, language, history, etc.


    I feel geography and external system like feudalism and the Church give amazing coherence to Iberia, countervailing indigenous and introduced cultural and geographic and economic divisions.
    I completely agree. Even tough a united Spanish state wasn't born until the end of the Middle Ages, the peoples of the Peninsula already shared a common "Spanish identity" - just what I was talking about before: despite not being politically united, they knew they shared some commeon traits besides Christianism and feudalism that they didn't share with, let's say, France. This was another advantage they had over Iberian Muslims, who shared with the rest of the Muslim world a burden that had existed since the birth of Islam: the impossibility of creating stable political structures and strong national identities. Depiste kingdoms being basically considered the property of the local king, a European Christian felt he belang to a "national" entity greater than the family name o the king or queen who happened to rule over him at the time. For example, already in the Middle Ages there was a Kingdom of Germany, a Kingdom of Poland, a Kingdom of England... This was never the case in the Muslim world, where kingdoms - sultanates - where simply the result o a given dynasty - familial or religious - grabbing enough territory and exerting authority over it until said dynasty is extinguished and this political entity ends. This is why every sultanate, emirate, you name it, afaik, bears the name of a clan, dynasty, common ancestor, etc. This is why most of the time you see an Ayyubid sultanate, a Zirid sultanate, and even an Ottoman sultanate, but never a sultanate of Syria, a sultanate of Egypt. This is much harder to develop a sense of unity and belonging when the element that binds you and your neighbours is simply a strongman, strong family, strong clan, whatever, that happens to hold an expense of territory together for the time being until he is replaced by something else.


    @Conrad: I mean... Ottomans? Janissaries? Mamluks? I'm sure there are more examples of fearsomely competent soldiers and warriors in the Muslim world throughout history. The crusaders sure had some spectacular victories, but they were also basically a military based enterprise, supported by many European countries and even rich individuals who would attack ill prepared single Middle Eastern powers. This usually works all the time: You get a bucnh of fighters of whatever sort from many sources and attack one far away city and its surrounding castles, conquer them and from there gang up on their neighbors. Until someone like Saladin manages to field a force that is enough to drive out the occupiers. It was pretty much the same with Charles Martel and his Franks against Muslim Raiders and with the Spanish Reconquista
    You did not interpret my words correctly. I never said Muslims warriors were not competent; they were. Beginning with basically a desert people wasting two of the greatest empires of the time. I simply said Christian Europeans had an edge over them most of the time on the tactical, or "battlefield" level (they had other advantange, which I just mentioned in this post, but they weren't included in the OP). I am not the one saying that; history is. You need only to look at the most important battles of the time to reach the same conclusion, as I already explained. Whether it is a military enterprise and whatever are the ressources that back it up has no significance when we are talking about battles where precisely the advantage lies with the opposing side (beginning with numerical - something even blatant numerical advantage, continuing with "homefront" advantage) and so on. The Ottomans were highly successful for a time, but during the Middle Ages they didn't really fight Christian Europeans much. Byzantine military had similarities with Christian Europe military, although it remains to be seen if the Cataphracts were as effective as European knights, or if those where really the "super weapon" of their time.

    was there an ongoing Orthodox societal inferiority when compared with expanding Islamic powers? (which just like with Islamic powers in Spain, there wasn't)
    I don't know if it can be called societal, but there was, of course. Else I doubt either the Byzantines or Islamic Spain would have fallen. You can be militarily inferior but make up for it if your population is ready to fight for their frontiers. Neither Byzantines nor Spanish Muslims were, and the lack of will to fight was what caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire. A small fraction was ready to risk their necks on the battlefield, but it cannot be compared to their more "warlike" Turkish / Spanish Christian counterparts. In the case of Turks, at least during the era when they still were a nomadic or semi-nomadic people, every adult man was a warrior, simple as that. Such was far from being the case for Byzantine and Spanish Muslims. Hence why their leaders needed to hire mercenaries (in the case of Byzantium, even Turks were occasionally hired). It doesn't make much sense to hire mercenaries if you have a population pool to get enough soldiers from, right?

    And no, I'm not saying other nations didn't hire mercenaries, I'm just saying that there wasn't a disproportionate amount of them. Note that I'm talking about the army, not rulers' personal bodyguard, in which case it might make sense to have mercenaries or slave warriors for the reasons I have explained in a previous post.
    Last edited by Conrad82; July 11, 2021 at 07:10 AM.

  8. #48
    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Hell called Conscription
    Posts
    35,615

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Generally Saracens (better called Saracens because Turks were different story) had two military problems that allowed West to out compete them militarily during High Middle Age - the inferior navy and inferior fortification technique. By having those two cutting age advantages the Crusader States were able to prolong their life for at least one century until Mamluk partially nullify Western navy advantage by persuading Italian states to stay neutral in the conflict.
    Quote Originally Posted by Markas View Post
    Hellheaven, sometimes you remind me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, except without the winning parable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Diocle View Post
    Cameron is midway between Black Rage and .. European Union ..

  9. #49
    Praeses
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,675

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Generally Saracens (better called Saracens because Turks were different story) had two military problems that allowed West to out compete them militarily during High Middle Age - the inferior navy and inferior fortification technique. By having those two cutting age advantages the Crusader States were able to prolong their life for at least one century until Mamluk partially nullify Western navy advantage by persuading Italian states to stay neutral in the conflict.
    That's an interesting aspect and worth teasing out. Is it fair to say some Christian factions (specifically the mercantile republics) enjoyed naval advantage, but not the feudal (and papal) factions that mounted crusades? I know less about the siege warfare but weren't both sides only rarely able to focus forces for major sieges? IIRC typically sieges were starvation affairs for both sides, although Jerusalem was assaulted and breached twice. Not sure if the crusaders were "better" at fortification, rather they relied on hiding in forts more often.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  10. #50
    AqD's Avatar 。◕‿◕。
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    🏡🐰🐿️🐴🌳
    Posts
    10,764

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad82 View Post
    Byzantine military had similarities with Christian Europe military, although it remains to be seen if the Cataphracts were as effective as European knights, or if those where really the "super weapon" of their time.
    They were not.

    It's generally accepted Frankish knights were superior to cataphracts as chargers, and that style was being adopted in ME.

    The use of mounted archery also fell and it's noted later Mamluks (?) restarted the practice to effectively counter charges

  11. #51
    dogukan's Avatar Praeses
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Middle freaking east
    Posts
    7,744

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    I don't understand how one can reach this conclusion by looking at a period that spans for centuries where neither side decisively dominate each other.

    That the Muslims were expelled from Iberia in the 14th-15th centuries mean their succesful take over of non-Muslim lands and their subsequent control over it for centuries meaningless?

    Say from 7th century to Reneissance Period, where exactly do we see a decisive dominance of non-Muslim armies to Muslim armies? The period is full of conquests and massive victories on both sides with non-Muslims often being on the losing side...given how the Islamic religions mostly expanded through military conquest and stayed in most places it got into with the exception of Iberia. The Berbers were once non-Muslims conquered by Muslims. So were the Levantines, Egyptians, Iranians, Anatolians and Afghans, Punjabis...etc.

    There is no single, unified style of warfare throughout these centuries and geographies either.

    Data-wise, there is nothing that suggests one can cleary reach a conclusion and say "Muslim militaries were inferior throughout the Middle Ages".
    "Therefore I am not in favour of raising any dogmatic banner. On the contrary, we must try to help the dogmatists to clarify their propositions for themselves. Thus, communism, in particular, is a dogmatic abstraction; in which connection, however, I am not thinking of some imaginary and possible communism, but actually existing communism as taught by Cabet, Dézamy, Weitling, etc. This communism is itself only a special expression of the humanistic principle, an expression which is still infected by its antithesis – the private system. Hence the abolition of private property and communism are by no means identical, and it is not accidental but inevitable that communism has seen other socialist doctrines – such as those of Fourier, Proudhon, etc. – arising to confront it because it is itself only a special, one-sided realisation of the socialist principle."
    Marx to A.Ruge

  12. #52

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    I do not know where this Thread will be going but there is no doubt a simple Fact that the Turks was the Major dominating Manpower during the Crusades against the Crusaders. Also your hypothetical basis should not be based on some certain known "Totalwar" Game to start a Topic.

  13. #53
    Comes Domesticorum
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Athenai
    Posts
    33,207

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Quote Originally Posted by dogukan View Post
    I don't understand how one can reach this conclusion by looking at a period that spans for centuries where neither side decisively dominate each other.

    That the Muslims were expelled from Iberia in the 14th-15th centuries mean their succesful take over of non-Muslim lands and their subsequent control over it for centuries meaningless?

    Say from 7th century to Reneissance Period, where exactly do we see a decisive dominance of non-Muslim armies to Muslim armies? The period is full of conquests and massive victories on both sides with non-Muslims often being on the losing side...given how the Islamic religions mostly expanded through military conquest and stayed in most places it got into with the exception of Iberia. The Berbers were once non-Muslims conquered by Muslims. So were the Levantines, Egyptians, Iranians, Anatolians and Afghans, Punjabis...etc.

    There is no single, unified style of warfare throughout these centuries and geographies either.

    Data-wise, there is nothing that suggests one can cleary reach a conclusion and say "Muslim militaries were inferior throughout the Middle Ages".
    I have to agree with this. There's simply too much of a wide gap in chronology and geography to draw a conclusion that the "West" or Muslims were militarily superior.

  14. #54
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
    Citizen

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    12,363

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Conrad82 and Cookiegod: both are right on several points. Congratulations to both of you.
    I don't have too much free time right now, but this is a very interesting thread. I will come back later. Briefly, its fair to say that after Covadonga, the Muslims made no serious attempt to subdue Pelayo. No, the Muslim missiles were not turned back by Virgin Mary
    In the beginning of the Portuguese reconquista, the balance of internal manpower and resources between Christian north and Muslim south is difficult to determine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad82 View Post
    Tangiers..The Muslims vastly outnumbered their foes in that battle
    The conquest of Ceuta marks the beginning neo-reconquest of the in north Africa. The expedition consisted about 20,000 men and was lead by João I itself. A fleet of over 200 transports crossed to North Africa. On arrival off Ceuta, it found that the town's governor had already prepared his defenses.The expedition temporarily drew off.. The governor, believing the threat has passed, then dismissed many of his men. According the the chronicler Azurara ( primary source) a few days the fleet returned to Ceuta, catching the defenders by surprise.Many fled, there was little resistance.
    Th history of Tangiers is a completely different story. I will come back later. Tomorrow.
    Last edited by Ludicus; January 22, 2022 at 10:04 AM.
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
    Charles Péguy

    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

  15. #55
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
    Citizen

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    12,363

    Default Re: Muslim military inferiority during the Middle Ages

    Ok. I'm back.Take a look.
    Medieval military history journal - e-Strategica
    The Iberian Association of Military History (IV-XVI centuries) was founded in 2015 by a group of Spanish and Portuguese researchers with the aim of giving an academic response to the growing interest in medieval military history in our countries. The main objective of the AIHM is to promote rigorous scientific knowledge of all aspects of the historical reality related to the world of medieval warfare on the Iberian Peninsula.
    the accumulation of knowledge now allows us to offer a panoramic view of war in the medieval Iberian Peninsula, which may be very useful both for Iberian students and specialists who wish to have a summary of these topics, especially for those interested around the world who have difficulty in accessing historiography written in Spanish or Portuguese. This work will offer all of them a first general consideration of the themes that have been researched in Spain and Portugal in the field of medieval military history.
    War in the Iberian Peninsula, 700–1600 is a panoramic synthesis of the Iberian Peninsula including the kingdoms of Leon and Castile, Aragon, Portugal, Navaarre, al-Andalus and Granada. It offers an extensive chronology, covering the entire medieval period and extending through to the 16th century, allowing for a very broad perspective of Iberian history which displays the fixed and variable aspects of war over time. The book is divided kingdom by kingdom to provide students and academics with a better understanding of the military interconnections across medieval and early modern Iberia. The continuities and transformations within Iberian military history are showcased in the majority of chapters through markers to different periods and phases, particularly between the Early and High Middle Ages, and the Late Middle Ages.
    With a global outlook, coverage of all the most representative military campaigns, sieges and battles between 700 and 1600, and a wide selection of maps and images, War in the Iberian Peninsula is ideal for students and academics of military and Iberian history.
    It was first published in 2018. The book seems to be available online.Search.It has everything you want to know about Composition of the Armies, Chain of Command, Military operations, Attrition warfare, Siege warfare, Pitched battles, Logistics, Supplies and funding, Armament, Fortifications, Naval Warfare, Ideology of War, Main Campaigns, Political outline, Recruitment system and Composition of the Armies.
    Chapter 1- Al Andalus; Chapter 2-Granada; Chapter 3-Castile-Leon; Chapter 4-Crown of Aragon; Chapter 5 –The Kingdom of Navarre; Chapter 6-Portugal Chapter 7;-The Spanish Imperial Wars of the 16th Century.

    Enjoy. Who knows, maybe Total War modders might be interested in this book. The answer to the initial question (Muslim "Inferiority" during the Middle Ages) seems to be,

    The evidence presented in this book shows that war was a central activity in the life of medieval Iberian societies. Armed violence, carried out not only by states but also by other institutions and by individuals, was an omnipresent and everyday phenomenon: war between neighbouring kingdoms caused by a variety of reasons, civil wars of a dynastic nature, military confrontations between monarchies and the nobility of each kingdom, struggles between different noble clans.

    The typology of the wars was varied and, certainly, comparable to those that we can find in other medieval geopolitical areas, but in the Iberian case we must add a long running, recurrent conflict that had a definite impact on the history of those societies, namely the war between the Christian kingdoms and the Islamic al-Andalus. Directly or indirectly, military activity as frequent as it was decisive for the destiny of institutions, communities and people, ended up mobilizing and putting to use many of the available human, economic, technological, institutional and intellectual resources.

    However, the resulting military model was not the same for all those involved. In the Christian kingdoms, there was a strong militarization of society, in line with patterns of behaviour common to the rest of Western Europe.

    Regarding a common place in historiography, it can be said that these were ‘societies organized by and for war
    ’, in which dedication to arms became a criterion of differentiation and social hierarchy, with the most appreciated social values deriving from bellicose action, as leaders were appreciated in terms of their achievements, and their military values and religious convictions were saturated with warmongering.

    It is quite possible that, as a consequence of the military context mentioned above, the degree of militarization of Iberian societies was even more pronounced than that of their European neighbours. Here it affected not only the monarchy and the groups of nobility but also the whole community. This is demonstrated by the generalized extension of military obligations, which were never limited to a single social group, the militarization of the institutional and social structure of urban societies and the intensity of armed confrontation interpreted in terms of reconquering, and the Crusades, which legitimized war and offered a singular identity to the social group along with a coherent and motivating ideological discourse. These belligerent features were not so obvious in Muslim societies.

    Everything suggests that in the Islamic military model, at least that established in al-Andalus and in the Maghreb, the degree of involvement of the community in war was never so pronounced, the predominant social values were not so closely linked to armed activity and even jihadist religiosity does not appear to have had widespread social impact.
    It was the state, not society, that was militarized, and assumed military functions, doing so by excluding the other social agents and thereby monopolizing armed activity.

    The confrontation of these two models of military organization
    showed that, in the long term, the militarized societies of the north were able to sustain an ongoing war effort even when their central powers were not in a position to do so, whereas militarized Islamic states depended very closely on the situation of the central power at any particular moment so that, in situations where this politically collapsed, they were practically defenseless.
    Hope this helps.
    ---
    The Battle of Tangiers(1437) A Batalha de Tânger
    It has a very detailed description of the events. With schematic drawings of the siege's evolution. The extensive bibliography is invaluable. Zurara, Gomes Eanes de. “Crónica do Conde Dom Pedro de Menezes” (1463) is the primary source. Use google translate to understand everything in its entirety, it is worth reading, because the political and socio-economic context behind the events is what determines the final outcome.

    In a few words:

    -Not everyone (there were different opinions among the nobility, among the bourgeoisie, and among the clergy) wanted this adventure. There was no general motivation for the expedition.

    - The possibility of Castile taking Tangier precipitated events.

    - The armada that left Portugal consisted of only 6,000 men, a very small number, considering that it was initially estimated that around 14,000 would be needed for the expedition.

    - The lack of secrecy surrounding the expedition allowed the governor of the city the organization of its defenses. The fortifications were improved, the garrisons reinforced and the mountain passes around Ceuta sealed.

    - Tangier had a garrison of 7,000 men, who were joined by some 600 Andalusian cavalrymen sent by the Kingdom of Granada.

    No primary source gives precise numbers of Moroccan fighters.The figures for the Moroccan combatants are wildly exaggerated. It is said that in addition to the 7,600 defenders of the city, 10,000 horsemen and 90,000 footmen arrived as reinforcements on September 30, and 60,000 horse and 700,000 footmen on October 8.

    Bibliography

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    ALVARES, Frei João. “Chronica dos feytos, vida, e morte do infante santo D. Fernando, que morreo em Fez”. Frei Jerónimo dos Ramos, editor. Lisboa, 1730
    CRUZ, Abel dos Santos. “A Nobreza Portuguesa em Marrocos no Século XV (1415-1464)”. Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 1995
    DUARTE, Luís Miguel. “África”.Nova História Militar de Portugal. Circulo de Leitores. Lisboa, 2003
    LOPES, David. “A Expansão em Marrocos”. Editorial Teorema, Lisboa, 1989 (Publicação original BAIÃO, António, CIDADE, Hernâni e MURIAS, Manuel . “História da Expansão Portuguesa no Mundo, 3 vols. Editorial Ática. Lisboa, 1937)
    MONTEIRO, João Gouveia. “Estratégias e Tácticas Militares”. Nova História Militar de Portugal. Circulo de Leitores. Lisboa, 2003
    MOREIRA, Hugo Daniel da Silva Rocha Gomes. “A Campanha Militar de Tânger (1433-1437)”. Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, 2009
    PINA, Ruy de. “Chronica de El-Rei Dom Duarte” (15–). Esciptorio. Lisboa, 1901
    RUSSELL, Peter E. “Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’: a life”. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2000
    ZURARA, Gomes Eanes de. “Crónica do Conde Dom Pedro de Menezes” (1463). Reprodução em fac-simile da 1ª edição impressa, de 1792. Edição Comemorativa do VI Centenário da Tomada de Ceuta. Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda. Lisboa, 201
    MARTINS, Joaquim Pedro de Oliveira. “Os Filhos de D. João I” (1891). Guimarães & C. Editores. Lisboa, 1983
    MAZZOLI-GUINTARD, Christine. “Villes d’al-Andalus. L’Espagne et le Portugal à l’époque musulmane (VIII-XV siècles)”. Presses Universitaires de Rennes. 1996
    MONTEIRO, João Gouveia. “A campanha militar de Ceuta (1415) revisitada”. Revista de história da Sociedade e da Cultura. Centro de História da Sociedade e da Cultura. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra. 2017
    PISANO, Mestre Mateus de. “Livro da Guerra de Ceuta” (1460). Publicado por Ordem da Academia das Sciências de Lisboa e Vertido em Português por Roberto Corrêa Pinto. Lisboa, 1915
    VILLADA PAREDES, Fernando e GURRIARÁN DAZA, Pedro. “al Mansura la ciudad olvidada”. Servicio de Museos, Consejería de Educación, Cultura y Mujer. Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta, 2013



    NB.
    For History lovers of this period, Iberian Medieval history, The Library of Iberian Resources Online (LIBRO) - University
    Last edited by Ludicus; January 23, 2022 at 04:33 AM.
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
    Charles Péguy

    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •