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"Help with types of muslim cavalry in the crusades period" Topic

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Plessiez07 Jan 2020 3:20 p.m. PST

Hello, I'm thinking of starting to collect some armies in 15mm for the period around the Battle of Hattin through the third crusade. I've been looking at the various ranges and am getting very confused by the types of cavalry available in the muslim armies and how some ranges seem to use the same names for ostensibly different types of cavalry.

I've been looking at Legio Heroica, Blue Moon and Outpost (who I've heard are well researched?) in 15mm and Perry and Musketeer in 28mm who I thought would help me understand the options.

Ghulams – these seem to range from being head to toe armour with aventails, or alternatively used for lighter armoured figures that look quite Turkish with a sort of flat furred peak. And might have a bow.

"Arab" heavy cavalry. Generally seem to be all in turbans in most of the 15mm ranges. In the Perry range there's not a turban in sight and are described and there's a single code "Saljuq/Syrian/Arab/Turkish Heavy" cavalry. The Musketeer range of Arab heavy has a lot of helmets often with mail protecting the back of the neck (I forget the word for this).

"Armoured Ayyubid lancers (Qaraghulams)" – these are only in the Legio Heroica range that I can see and look to my eye a lot like their ghulams but with a turban around their helmet?

Arab light cavalry / Bedouin cavalry – these seem clearer. Long robes and no armour.

Turcomen horse archers seem pretty consistent so no issue figuring them out.

Any help to get across this would be greatly appreciated

Cerdic07 Jan 2020 10:44 p.m. PST

The problem you've got here is that a lot of these kinds of terms refer to a type of person, not a type of soldier. The names are a social or geographic descriptor not a military one.

Add to this the fact that there was no such thing as regulation dress back then and you end up with just a bunch of blokes with a bunch of different kit.

Glengarry507 Jan 2020 11:33 p.m. PST

Often a helmet would have a turban wound around it. Look closely on the figures, sometimes you can see it poking out at the top. The word you're thinking of is aventail.

GurKhan08 Jan 2020 1:48 a.m. PST

"Armoured Ayyubid lancers (Qaraghulams)" – these are only in the Legio Heroica range that I can see and look to my eye a lot like their ghulams but with a turban around their helmet?

Qaraghulam is literally "black ghulam", where "ghulam" can mean a page or a slave-soldier. They were a part of Saladin's Ayyubid army, of lower status than the elite Turkish ghulams. It's not clear whether they were black Africans as the name would literally suggest, or if it's a generic term for lower-status ghulams – William of Tyre describes them as "ordinary troopers". And as far as I know, we don't know whether they were armoured lancers, archers, or carried both weapons, though if they were indeed "ordinary ghulams" then bows must be likely.

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