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Persian Phoenix: Khurasanian

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago

Khurasanian AD 821 - AD 1073

 

Draft list by Ulf Olsson


 

This list covers the armies of the Tahirid, Samanid and Saffarid Khurasanian dynasties that took control of the eastern parts of the Abbasid Caliphates in the 9th century AD, as well as the early period of the Ghaznavid state. It also covers the occasional Abbasid expeditions into Khurasan after AD 821.

The area ruled by the Khurasanian dynasties included the heartland of the old Sassanid Empire, roughly corresponding to today's eastern Iran and parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Khurasani armies were a mix of regular professional units similar to those of the contemporary Abbasids and irregular regional troops. The core of the armies was well organized and the Diwan institution of registered soldiers entitled to regular pay continued to be used.

 

Tahirid (AD 821 – AD 873)

Tahir was a successful Abbasid general who played a leading role in the civil wars that rocked the Abbasid state in the early 9th century AD.

The grateful Caliph in Baghdad made Tahir hereditary governor of his native Khurasan. The Tahirid ‘governors’ quickly became effectively independent, but remained nominally loyal to the Caliph. The Tahirids gradually lost their grip and had to devote ever increasing resources to suppress various rebels from AD 850 onwards. Support from their nominal Abbasid overlords could not prevent the Saffarids from toppling the Tahirids in AD 873.

 

Saffarids (AD 861 – AD 1073)

The freebooter Ya’qub bin Laith as-Saffar revolted against the enfeebled Tahirids in Seistan province and quickly established his rule over Khurasan as well. Swift military expansion was halted by a failed campaign towards Baghdad and Saffar died shortly afterwards. In the turmoil following his death, the Samanids revolted against his heirs and wrested Khurasan from them. After AD 900 the Saffarids were restricted to Seistan and later became vassals of the Samanids and their successors the Ghaznavids. The Saffarids were finally absorbed by the Seljuqs in AD 1073.

 

Samanids (AD 875 – AD 999)

The Samanids were Abbasid governors of Transoxania based in Bokhara. They were loyal supporters of the Abbasids and Tahirids, but revolted against the Saffarid and wrested Khurasan from them. Attempts to conquer Seistan from the remaining Saffarids failed, however. They then presided over a remarkable renaissance of arts and culture that combined ancient Persian culture with Islam.

In AD 999 they were overrun by the combined forces of their former vassals the Ghaznavids and the Turkish Qarakhanids, who divided the former Samanid realm between them.

 

Early Ghaznavid (AD 962 - AD 997)

The Ghaznavids were Turk Ghilman in service with the Samanids. In AD 962 they revolted during a Samanid succession crisis under the leadership of Alp Tigin and seized Ghazna.

This list covers the armies of Alp Tigin and his successor Sebüktigin and the wars against the Samanids and Shahis. It ends with the succession of Sebüktigin's famous son Mahmud.

 

Later Abbasid in the East (AD 821 - AD 900)

Although the Abbasid Caliph had made Tahir hereditary governor of Khurasan, the Abbasids continued to send occasional expeditions to the East in order to support their allies in the region. Such armies were based around a core of Abbasid Ghulams and other regular soldiers supported by a variety of local vassals and allies.

 

For a list of sources used to compile this list, please see Early Islamic Sources.


 

 

Army List

 

Terrain: Dry - Hilly

 

__Note:__ Khurasanian armies depended heavily on cavalry. Thus, the total number of Infantry Divisions and Levy Divisions fielded may not be greater than the total number of Ghilman and Khurasani Cavalry Divisions used.

 

1-3 Ghilman Division

1c Palace Ghilman or Ghilman

1-2 Ghilman

 

The Ghilman Division represent professional core of Khurasanian Armies. The C-in-C must command a Ghilman Division. The Palace Ghilman unit can only be commanded by the C-in-C.

Armies of the period AD 821 - AD 850 can only use one Ghilman Division.

 

1-2 Khurasani Cavalry Division

1c Khurasani Horse Archers

1-3 Khurasani Horse Archers

 

The Khurasani Cavalry Divisions represent the retinues of Khurasani nobles and native Khurasani mounted auxiliaries that made up an important part of all Khurasani armies.

 

0-2 Ayyar Division (Only Tahirids and Saffarids)

1c Ayyar Freebooters

1-2 Ayyar Freebooters

0-2 Ayyar Foot

 

Ayyar were independent bands of irregular warriors. They were supposedly raised to protect local communities from Khawarij sectarian rebels, but were often little better than bandits. Saffarid armies must include at least 1 Ayyar Division.

 

0-2 Infantry Division

1c Spearmen or Elite Spearmen

1-2 Spearmen or Elite Spearmen

0-1 Foot Archers

 

At least one infantry Division must be used if any infantry are used. Only one Infantry Division may include Elite Spearmen.

 

0-1 Levy Infantry Division

1c Levy

1-2 Levy

 

The Levy Division can not receive any additional units.

 

0-1 Khawarij Division (AD 873 – AD 900, Saffarid only)

1c Khawarij Cavalry

1-2 Khawarij Cavalry

0-1 Khawarij Foot

 

In AD 873 the Saffarids enticed a numerous contingent of Khawarijis to join them. They formed a separate body under their own general.

 

0-1 Ally Ziyarid Dailami Division (Samanids only)

1c Ally Dailami Tribesmen

1-3 Ally Dailami Tribesmen

 

0-1 Ally Turk Division (Samanids and Ghaznavids only)

1c Ally Turk Tribesmen

1-3 Ally Turk Tribesmen

 

 

 

Additional units:

No Allied Division can receive additional units

0-2 Dailami or Sagzi Mercenary Infantry (Note 1)

0-1 Dailami Mercenary Archers (Note 1)

0-2 Turk Auxiliaries (Note 2)

0-2 Tribal Hillmen (Note 3)

0-1 Khawarij Cavalry (Note 4)

0-1 ‘Pil’ War Elephant (Note 5)

 

Additional unit notes:

  1. Dailami Mercenaries may be added to an Infantry Division, and/or any Division commanded by the C-in-C.
  2. Turk Axiliaries may be added to any Ghilman or Khurasani Cavalry Division.
  3. Tribal Hillmen may be added to an Infantry Division
  4. Khawarij may only be used Saffarid armies, and may not be used together with a Khawarij Division.
  5. ´Pil´ War Elephants may be used by Samanid and Ghaznavid armies (at any date) or by Saffarid armies in AD 950 - AD 1073. 'Pil' may be added to any Division able to receive additional units.


 

Mounted Units

 

Palace Ghilman

Heavy Horse Archers – Initiative 8, (Wave)

2 Bases - 57 Pts

4 Bases - 102 Pts

 

Comments:

Palace Ghilman represent the bodyguard units of Khurasanian rulers. They have excellent equipment and are highly trained. The Palace Ghilman must be personally commanded by the C-in-C.

 

Ghilman

Heavy or Medium Horse Archers – Initiative 7, (Wave, Expert)

2 Bases – 52 Pts if Heavy, 44 Pts if Medium

4 Bases - 91 Pts if Heavy, 76 Pts if Medium

 

Comments:

The Khurasanian dynasties relied heavily on Ghilman professional cavalry. They were the most effective soldiers of their day.

 

Khurasanian Horse Archers

Medium or Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Wave)

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

These units represent the Khurasanian noble retinues and mercenaries operating as mounted archers. They formed an important part of all contemporary armies in the area.

 

Khawarij Cavalry

Medium or Light Irregular Horse – Initiative 6 (Audacious)

3 Bases – 39 Pts

4 Bases - 48 Pts

 

OR

 

Medium or Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Wave)

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

The Khawarij Cavalry represent the mounted elements of the Khawariji movement. The majority of them were not well equipped, but partly made up for it with revolutionary fervour.

 

'Pil' War Elephants

Medium Elephants – Initiative 6

2 Bases - 68 Pts

3 Bases - 96 Pts

 

Comments:

War Elephants represent the elephants employed by Khurasanian armies. ´Pil´ War Elephants may be used by Samanid or Ghaznavid armies (at any date) or by Saffarid armies in AD 950 - AD 1073.

 

 

Ayyar Freebooters

Light Irregular Horse – Initiative 6 (Wave)

4 Bases - 48 Pts

6 Bases - 66 Pts

 

OR

 

Medium or Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Wave)

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

These units represent the turbulent Ayyar volunteers and bandits. Ayyars were raised to protect orthodox communities from Khawarij rebels, but often became bandits and revolutionaries themselves.

 

Ally Turk Tribesmen

Medium or Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Ally, Expert, Wave)

4 Bases - 56 Pts

6 Bases - 78 Pts

 

A unit commanded by the Division’s commander may be classed as Medium or Light. All other Turk Tribesmen must be Light.

 

Comments:

These units represent Turkic tribesmen from Central Asia allied to the Samanids or Ghaznavids.

 

Foot Units

 

Dailami or Sagzi Mercenary Infantry

Medium Shock – Initiative 6

4 Bases - 32 Pts

6 Bases - 42 Pts

 

Comments:

Dailami Mercenaries were professional infantry of good quality. They were primarily armed with javelins, swords and some axes. Some Sagzi infantry was probably similar.

 

Dailami Mercenary Archers

Light Archers or Medium Archers – Initiative 6

4 Bases - 28 Pts

6 Bases - 38 Pts

 

Comments:

A proportion of Dailami could be archers instead of javelinmen. See above.

 

Elite Spearmen

Medium Shieldsmen – Initiative 6

6 Bases - 32 Pts, 39 Pts if including Light Archer Detachment.

8 Bases - 40 Pts, 48 Pts if including Light Archer Detachment.

 

May have Light Archer Detachment.

May have a Light Shock Detachment (+5 Pts) unless Dailami or Abbasid.

 

Comments:

The Elite Spearmen represent the higher quality infantry such as experienced mercenaries, most Dailami and Sagzi. It also covers the Abbasid Abna infantry that may have been included in expeditionary forces sent to Khurasan. They were equipped with spear and shield. Infantry was often supported by archers.

 

Spearmen

Medium Shieldsmen – Initiative 5

6 Bases - 26 Pts, 33 Pts if including Light Archer Detachment.

8 Bases - 32 Pts, 40 Pts if including Light Archer Detachment.

 

May have Light Archer Detachment.

 

Comments:

The Spearmen represent the majority of infantry equipped with spear and shield. Infantry was often supported by archers.

 

Foot Archers

Medium or Light Archers – Initiative 6 (Brittle)

4 Bases - 24 Pts

6 Bases - 32 Pts

 

Comments:

The Foot Archers represent the lightly equipped archers deployed in separate bodies.

 

Khawarij Foot or Ayyar Foot

Light or Medium Irregulars – Initiative 6 (Audacious)

6 Bases - 26 Pts

8 Bases - 32 Pts

 

Comments:

Some bands of both Khawarij and Ayyar bands included warriors on foot. Khawarij were religiously motivated revolutionaries. Ayyars were raised to protect orthodox communities from Khawarij rebels, but often became bandits and revolutionaries themselves.

 

Tribal Hillmen

Light or Medium Irregulars – Initiative 6

6 Bases - 26 Pts

8 Bases - 32 Pts

 

Comments:

The Tribal Hillmen depicts the irregular infantry provided by various mountain clans.

 

Levy

Medium Irregulars – Initiative 5

6 Bases - 22 Pts

8 Bases - 26 Pts

 

Comments:

Levies depict hastily mobilized city-dwellers. They were unreliable and ill-equipped.

 

Ally Dailami Tribesmen

Medium or Light Shieldsmen– Initiative 6 (Ally)

4 Bases – 18 Pts, 22 Pts with Light Archer Detachment

6 Bases – 20 Pts, 26 Pts with Light Archer Detachment

 

May have a Light Archer Detachment

 

Comments:

Ziyarid Dailami tribesmen allied themselves to the Samanids. They were lightly equipped infantry of good quality supported by archers.

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