Sunday, 11 October 2009

Syria and the Turks

The period I'm covering saw the last gasp of the Crusades in Egypt and Syria, with later efforts being concentrated elsewhere such as Spain and Prussia.

Part of the reason why the remanants of the Crusader states lasted for as long as they did was that their Muslim opponents could be as fractious as their European counterparts. After Saladin's death his territories were divided amongst his sons and other family members. At various times, one of these coud claim to be the overall leader but conflict between the cities was frequent. One result of this internecine warfare was the hiring of Khwarizmians, refugees from the Mongol Conquest. These were employed by first one side and then another in the wars between the Ayyubid Sultan in Egypt and his uncle and others. While crossing Palestine, the Khwarizmians took Jerusalem from the Christians, resulting in Muslim rule of the city for the next 7 centuries.

As might be expected for a 14th century Christian, Dante consigned Muhammed and Ali to one of the lower regions of the Inferno. Saladin is also in the Inferno, but on the first level, the region for those who
"did not sin; and yet, though they have merits,
that's not enough, because they lacked baptism,
the portal of the faith that you embrace.
And if they lived before Christianity,
they did not worship God in fitting ways;"
Saladin is notable as the others are almost all Classical figures, ranging from heroes of the Trojan Wars , through the philosphers and writers of Greece to renowned figures of Ancient Rome. Indeed, Saladin is noted as standing slightly apart from the others.

These are some 15mm Old Glory figures which I use as Ayyubid Syrians. They are a mix including not only their Syrian figures but also some OG Seljuks. Spears have been replaced by wire - the last few ranges from OG have seen them switch to very thin lances instead of the open hands on other ranges.
 This OG range has some nice figures but others are nowhere near as good. The size of riders and horses varies greatly and details such as bowcases and quivers are often far too small. I think the Syrians and Bedouins are probably the best of this range. The Seljuk range is generally much more consistent and better detailed.

These are Outpost Ghilman (with and Old Glory drummer - the Outpost one is very big).
The horse of the man with the mace has had a bard made of a J-cloth added.
When I first got the Outpost figures they seemed much smaller than most ranges but placed side by side the difference is due to the more natural proportions. Some of the horses are very nice, others aren't quite so good.

Turcoman cavalry - Outpost on the left, Old Glory on the right.
I tried for a dynamic basing with the OG figures, with most of them looking as if they are charging across the opponents front, firing as they go. Trouble is, it gets confusing as to which way they are actually facing, despite the base width and depth being different. I may well rebase these.


Mark Davies said...

These look great, and will encourage me to get busy with my own Seljuk and Syrian armies.

Swampster said...

Thanks Mark.