Martial incompetence of Islam (vs. cultural power of Islam?)

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,790
Cornwall
Your description of the Almohads does not refect the works of Ambrosio Huici Miranda, who wrote the definitive history. Not sure if it is in English (I would think so)

Historia Politica del Imperio Almohade (2 vols)

...but I was lucky to find the 2 volumes in print a couple of years ago. The conquests of Abd Al Mu'min and the Caliphates of Yusuf I and Yaqub Al-Mansur were pretty scary give or take the odd set back. Things actually started to decline under Al-Nasr and tangibly after him/Las Navas de Tolosa, due to the usual in-fighting and arab-berber hatred

But in the mid 1190s - look out!

The Almoravids were also pretty effective up to and including Yusuf Ibn Tashufin. And both dynasties came to delve surpringly into arts and architecture

While we are at it it's hard to find any miltary or administrative force that compared - given the context of the region - with the Caliphate of Cordoba under Abderraman III, Alhaken II and the terrible Almanzor.

(I'm afraid I've no idea what 'Sales (???) and Fez did OK' means)
 
Mar 2018
861
UK
Perhaps time period; roughly 760-1460 (excluding Turko-mongols such as the Timurids, Ottomans, etc.)
Again it doesn't seem fair to say "Where this group of people good at this thing, not counting those who were good at it?" That's just begging the question or a no-true-scotsman fallacy.

It sounds like you're trying to say something about an ethnic group rather than a religion.
 
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Nov 2013
725
Texas
Again it doesn't seem fair to say "Where this group of people good at this thing, not counting those who were good at it?" That's just begging the question or a no-true-scotsman fallacy.

It sounds like you're trying to say something about an ethnic group rather than a religion.
A: From 620-720; ARabs were great fighters; even the Byzantines would have had a much harder time if not for their navy (and Arab naval prowess often more suited for the Indian Ocean than the mediterranean)

B: but from say, 757-1257, Islamic golden agey type cultures (Persians, Al-Andalus, ARabs, Morrocco), seemed to do much better on a cultural level than a martial one. (Thus Persia falls to Turks; and other armies have a much harder time fighting Crusaders than they should have.)

C: Though this analysis may seem flawed; the Islamic powerhouses during the Islamic golden age did not function as hardcore martial powers the way the Ottoman Empire, the Timurids, or the Rashidun caliphate did; or even Pre-Islamic Persia. This suggests that after the Omeya dynasty, but before Baibers, Islam tended to function more as a cultural power than a martial one.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,790
Cornwall
Sale'....
So what did these towns do?

The Almohads built a new capital opposite Sale - Rabat.

At it's height the Almohad Empire ruled everything from Tripoli in Libya to the Atlantic coast of Morocco to Lisbon to southern Catalonia with an iron rule. There was one heck of a lot of blood involved to get there, especially in Ifriqiya.

Sale would come into it's own much later when it became a base for pirates - moriscos expelled from Spain, originally farmers from inland Hornachos mostly in this case. Caused havoc with Atlantic shipping, another side effect of the bonkers decision to expel all moriscos in 1609-11. The Sultan of Morocco gave them old Sale as a base and many other Andalusies did the same in Tetouan - which is famous for it's Andalus houses today
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,107
Slovenia, EU
Perhaps time period; roughly 760-1460 (excluding Turko-mongols such as the Timurids, Ottomans, etc.)

can go either way with Arab martial prowess during the period.

I'd say there was a correlation (Islamic powers actually having a lot more emphasis on Clergy, trade, scholarship, Urban development, or even agriculture than warfare)
Urban development in islam was a regression if compared to late antiquity. Syria, Egypt and north Africa were all more urbanised under Romans than under islamic empires.
 
Nov 2013
725
Texas
Urban development in islam was a regression if compared to late antiquity. Syria, Egypt and north Africa were all more urbanised under Romans than under islamic empires.
What about Persia? Do Merv and Bukhara count? What about Samarkand?

In Islamic Morrocco; Fez, Marrakesh, Tangiers (and a perhaps couple of other notable cities or trade routes), were quite major; what were the major cities of Morrocco of antiquity?
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,107
Slovenia, EU
What about Persia? Do Merv and Bukhara count? What about Samarkand?

In Islamic Morrocco; Fez, Marrakesh, Tangiers (and a perhaps couple of other notable cities or trade routes), were quite major; what were the major cities of Morrocco of antiquity?
I think that most of Morocco was not under Romans. Later islamic centers were more to south. No idea what happened to Persian urbanization if we compare Parthians and Umayyads/Abbasids. Ctesiphon was probably on Baghdad's scale.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,790
Cornwall
In Islamic Morrocco; Fez, Marrakesh, Tangiers (and a perhaps couple of other notable cities or trade routes), were quite major; what were the major cities of Morrocco of antiquity?
'Morocco' didn't really exist as an entity in antiquity, there were the Mauritanias and Ifriqiya

Antiquity:
Fez - no, was founded around 789
Marrakesh - no, was founded by the Almoravids, 11th century
Oran - no, founded properly around 900

Rather like a mini-Crete, it was all about the coastal cities/trading centres. From Carthaginian to Roman to Vandal to Eastern Roman, it was Carthage, Hippo Regis (Annaba), Bugia, Algiers and of course Ceuta and Tangier.
 
Feb 2019
92
Mumbai
A rather strange comment. Islam is a religion/faith not a race. Islamic war history has been overwhelmingly guided by Turks. Turkic groups are the ones who built and maintained most of the large islamic empires, so their competence/incompetence should be viewed via the prism of rise and fall of Turkic people's ability to maintain large empires. With the exception of early Arabs, almost all major islamic powers were led by turks.