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Later Moorish

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

Later Moorish (II/57) - Byzantine Allies


Author: Jim Webster


C inC –Irr LH(O) or Irr Cav(O) 1

Sub general –as above or Irr Ps(S) 1-2

Bodyguard Irr Cv(0) 0-1

Cavalry – Irr LH(O) 18 – 58

Javelinmen. Irr Ax(I) 28-54 (1)

Upgrade Javelinmen to Ps(I) 0 to all

Archers and Slingers Irr Ps(O) 0 – 12

Women, children, elderly and slaves Irr Hd(O) 0 - 16


After 350AD (2)

Camels to mount Javelinmen. 0 - 25

Portable obstacles for Camel mounted Javelinmen (tethered camels) 0-25


Only from 533AD to 548AD

Vandal fugitive allies – list African Vandal (Bk 2) 0 – 8


Only from 546AD to 548 AD

Byzantine deserter allies. List Early Byzantine (Bk 3) 0 - 12


Only in 681

Byzantine Allies (3)



(1) The accounts of Synesius and Ammianus seem to show that Moorish infantry were more willing to fight toe to toe with their enemies, and there is far less mention of infantry skirmishing.


(2) This date as rather plucked out of the air, it is probably by this date that there were significant numbers of camels in Moorish hands


(3) Author: Duncan Head


Synopsis: Allow Byzantine allies in 681.



Add the following lines:


Only in 681 AD:

Byzantine allies - List: Thematic Byzantine (Book 3)



The current published lists allow the Thematic Byzantines (list III/29) to have Moorish allies in AD 681 only. This is to cater for Byzantine-Moorish Berber co-operation against Uqba ibn Nafi's Muslim Arab forces. One good modern work describes these events as follows:


"When Maslama... died in 62/681, Yazid I ... decided to change the Arab policy in North Africa. ... reappointed Uqba b. Nafi as Governor of Ifriqiya. Uqba ... set out westwards ... He marched first to Baghaya, to the north of the Auras Mountains. Having failed to enter the city, after fierce resistance from the Byzantine garrison there, Uqba then advanced westwards to the Zab, which was part of Numidia, where he engaged the Byzantine and Berber forces. After that, he defeated a combination of Byzantine and Berber forces near Tihart and reached Tangier...".


- from Abdulwahid Dhanun Taha, The Muslim Conquest and Settlement of North Africa and Spain (Routledge 1989) pp.65-66. An extensive list of sources, mostly Arabic, are noted for this whole paragraph, but unfortunately it's not clear who specifically refers to the composition of the enemy armies at the Zab and Tihart.


However in discussion on Michael Anastasiadis' proposed rewrite of the Thematic Byzantine list (currently in the Files section of the group as "Early Byzantine.doc"), it was suggested that a Berber army with Byzantine allies would probably be a better representation of this alliance than vice versa, since the Byzantine army of Africa at this date was so small, probably only garrisons of a few hundred men, that the Berbers were bound to have been the larger force of the two. See Michael Anastasiadis' message

7025 of the TNE list, 11 December 2005.


Therefore the Byzantine list should probably lose the Moorish allies as well, but I leave that point for Michael's proposal.


(from TNE list message 8076)


Points for Further Research:


Ilkka Syvänne's The Age of Hippotoxotai (Tampere University Press, 2004) has a reference to 6th-century Moorish troop-types as described in Corippus' poem Iohannis:


"According to Procopius, the Moors wore no armor, had small shields, carried two javelins and used terrain or palisaded camps as bases of attack. In actuality, the fighting methods of the Moors varied considerably from one tribe to another. Corippus states that the Frexes employed both infantry and cavalry, the Austur specialized in the use of the camp and the camels, the Ifuraces were noted for their shields and powerful swordplay while their charge was characterized by leaping up and down for dramatic effect, and the Aurastians employed only cavalry armed with a two-handed lance and shield. In addition, there were many other tribes some of whom hailed from forested regions or mountainous regions or areas with lakes and deserts. All of these had their own special characteristics stemming from their place of abode. There were even some Moorish ploughmen who had simply joined for the sake of plunder." (p.398)


There is slight support for this in Michael Brett and Elizabeth Fentress' The Berbers (Blackwell 1996), which mentions the Austuriani (presumably Syvänne's "Austur") demanding camels from the Roman authorities in the 4th century, and the Leuathae as the leading tribe in the coalition defeated by John Troglyta in the mid-6th (the war celebrated in the "Iohannis"), but otherwise this is new to me. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Allowing Ifuracian Wb or Bd swordsmen and Aurastian Kn contarii is tempting, but it all has a slight whiff of poetic license about it; it reminds me somehow of the colourful battle-accounts of Silius Italicus, liberally featuring exotic arms and armour that had no place in the real world, or of someone imitating Herodotos' catalogue of the Persian contingents.


So far I haven't read Corippus, and any attempt to turn this into a proposal would need to start with seeing exactly what he says, and then considering the historical reliability of the account. A translation of Corippus seems to be available - Iohannis or De Bellis Lebycis of Flavius Cresconius Corippus, trans. George W. Shea (Edwin Mellen Press, 1998). Vincent Zarini's Berbères ou barbares?: Recherches sur le livre second de la Johannide de Corippe (A.D.R.A, 1997) might also be useful.



Author: Jim Webster


Synopsis: Remove the section related to the revolt of 373 AD to 374AD because this is now covered under the Late Roman List II/78


If the changes to List II/78 are not accepted then the Firmus revolt section needs to be reintroduced, but does need rethinking.



Remove the section which commences


Only from 373 AD to 374AD

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