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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

fredrikslicer

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Oct 19, 2011
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So I have had something of an interest in the Mzabites for some time and decided to look their history and I found that the representation as a feudal theocracy is more than a little off.

The Mozabite decend from the berber Rustamid imamate that was destroyed by the surging Fatimid empire.
While the territorial state was destroyed the institution of the Imamate was not, at least not yet.
The Mozabites fled south into the sahara and founded a city called Sedrata (which was later abandoned after having been sacked) and the Imam instituted the state of secrecy and
abdicated his position. With the state of secrecy declared (when the faithful undertake concelment to preserve their faith) no new imam was elected to the position and instead the
communities opted for a different form of government.

In every city a magistrate/kebir is elected to serve as the administrator for the city clan/qabaila (meaning there could be more than one Kebir per city) and 1-2 sherifs/muqqademin who act
as law enforcement. In the case of special rulings and the revisment of laws the city the city assembles a group called a Juma which consists of the sheriffs, magistrate and the city elders.
This group then meets in a mosque together with the Halaqa which is lead by the Shaikh (who is in charge of the mosque). During this meeting only the Magistrate is allowed to speak at
the behalf of the Juma. The Halaqa by contrast can speak freely and the Shaikh in particular. The Shaikh does however outside of this meeting not wield any powers aside from religous activities and excomunication (which he can use if things get out of hand or they reach an impass).

The state of Mzab was also not really a state, there was not political union between the five berber cities and there was no head of state at all instead there was a network of alliances that kept them safe and enabled trade. While they are sometimes described as a confederacy it would perhaps be more approriate to call them a leauge.

In EU4 this is represented by Feudal Theocracy

So where is the problem?

Feudal Theocracy in the game largley represents the clerical or semi clerical governments of Oman, Mushasha, Ardabil and so forth in which the day to day activities are at least a bit similar to the feudal system in terms of class and where the head of state is both a form of king and imam both with real executive powers that he wields more or less freely and activley. This is however the opposite is true for the Mozabite where the Shaikh does virtually nothing outside of dealing with prayers and weedings and only gets involved in special meetings and only wields his powers under certain circumstances in those. Futhermore the Mozabite maintained a much more egalitarian system of government that involved people of all classes represented in the Juma.

(Source: The Mzab by E. A. Alport)

Thus Feudal Theocracy does not make sense in any of the start dates (but of course that dosen´t mean you shouldn´t be able to achive it)

There are a few options that perhaps would be better:

1. Repurposed Swiss Cantons
As mentioned Mzab was not a political entity but rather a collection of allied cities that had no overarching leadership or head of state that having been said the swiss canton system was designed around the old swiss confederacy which while slightly more unified after 1393 it is all the same a deacent solution to the problem, the repurposing in this case would be changing the name and description to be more general.

2. Classic Theocracy
While again overplaying the importance of the Shaikh it is still more accurate than the feudal theocracy which is the diametric opposite of the state of secrecy practiced at this time. One could of course consider a unique theocracy with limited absolutism and governing capacity in exchange for being able to form trade leauges this would also assume PDX would ever agree to splitting Mzab into 4-7 provinces which is unlikley.

3. Republic
On the flip side of the theocratic institution we find a secular one in the Kebir whom were in charge for day to day operations and was the one to call the Juma and Halaqa to meetings and was the only secular one who could speak during those. This could be represented either as a noble republic or one could repurpose the Signora from Italy or the veche if the split would be relevant. Of course I don´t actually know for how long the kebir held office at a time.

Note that in case of splitting up Mzab it could be treated as a formable or as a culture with the Feudal theocracy being unlockable by either mission or formable (Either forming Algeria or Mzab)
 
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