Saturday, April 6, 2013

Conquest Normans into Andalusians

After a number of posts on my Castilians and El Cid armies, it is time to move to the other end of the peninsula, the Moors of Spain, or Al-Andalus.

Warriors of Al-Andalus

The peoples who made up the fighting forces of Muslim Spain were drawn from many places.  As many historians have noted,the Arab invasion of Spain by the Umayaad Caliphate in 711 AD was not entirely Arab or Muslim.  The initial invasion force was led by the Arabs, but the bulk of the troops were Berbers, who had in recent years been conquered by the Umayaad Arabs, and not completely converted in the early eighth century.   Tensions between Arabs and Berbers characterized the Spanish emirate throughout its existance, with open warfare first breaking out in the 740s.

The Arabs were disproportionately a urban population in Spain, with the countryside dominated by Berbers and native Christians, who slowly converted to Islam over the next two hundred years.  These Spanish Christians served in Andalusian armies, for reasons of both compulsion and loot, along with slave troops purchased from Christian lands, Africa and the Middle East.

Here is a group of four Conquest Normans beginning their conversion into Andalusian troops.  Tunics were extended into robes, and adding turbans and headgear.  The set's round shields were also used, as the heart shaped Arab shields did not come into popular usage until the twelfth century.

Finished and painted, the shield patterns on the two below were lifted from some Andalusian pottery designs of the time. 

Here are the conversions in the ranks with some Artizan Moors.  They fit in very well in terms of scale and heft.

Troops of Arab descent in Spain were most likely from the cities of Spain (which were some of the largest in Europe at the time), and functioned as an urban militia.  As such, these are depicted as wearing finer clothing in bright colors.

Overall, the conversion process was useful practice for my poor (but hopefully improving) sculpting skills.  For time reasons, I would not want to convert a whole box of Normans into Arabs, unless one needed a few extra Moors for a low cost.

Next time, Andalusian cavalry and commanders.


  1. Effective conversions, a bit of greenstuff does a lot.

  2. Outstanding use of some good figures. Well done.

  3. They look great can't wait to see them on the table.