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Lord Decobius

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I found it rather fitting that an indulgent wastrel didn't pay his mercs, went into debt, and was remembered after his death for freely giving money to his friends and family. True to character! One thing I'm curious about though: towards the end of 1078 Malik Hiba was running a deficit, but by early 1080 he was coming up on a balance of 600. What happened in 1079 to turn things around so drastically? Is that the trade route, or did you ransom some people? Can you raid? Without having played in the region (one of the reasons I find this AAR so fascinating), I'm a little lost as to how you managed this rather incredible feat. Rather than his flying contraption, this golden year feels like Hiba's true greatest achievement!
 

Crimson Lionheart

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Subbed. Will be following with interest
 

lad

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I found it rather fitting that an indulgent wastrel didn't pay his mercs, went into debt, and was remembered after his death for freely giving money to his friends and family. True to character! One thing I'm curious about though: towards the end of 1078 Malik Hiba was running a deficit, but by early 1080 he was coming up on a balance of 600. What happened in 1079 to turn things around so drastically? Is that the trade route, or did you ransom some people? Can you raid? Without having played in the region (one of the reasons I find this AAR so fascinating), I'm a little lost as to how you managed this rather incredible feat. Rather than his flying contraption, this golden year feels like Hiba's true greatest achievement!
Thanks for commenting.
I was actually holding many counties personally and my income should have been greater.
My deficit was mainly due to 6 or 7 drought events
The drought was everywhere.There was also a smugglers ring in all my towns.
But then it suddenly improved.
That golden year came because:
1)I ransomed some jailbirds from the old Zirid war who still fetched a lot of bucks
2)My harvest improved(Drought events stopped and I actually got a 'Harvest improved' event that year)
3)I raided the last county of the Awellimids. Air.


Yes We can raid
But I haven't done it on a large scale yet
 
Last edited:

lad

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2
A study on the accounts of Sheikh Talim(Part 1)

lad

First Lieutenant
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Apr 3, 2018
243
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Chapter 5

By the end of Hiba's reign, the Banu Khattab had expanded their power deeper than ever into the desert. Hiba's marriage to the Zirid princess turned out to be a blessing for historians. For she didn't come alone. Along with the huge caravan full of treasures, animals, weapons and handmaids that accompanied her as dowry, also came the geographer Sheikh Talim. Sheikh Talim accompanied the princess and then embarked on an epic tour of the territories of his new masters.

Born in Alexandria sometime in the 1040s, Sheikh Talim was the son of a rich trader who also served in the court of the Sultan of Egypt. Later on, he emigrated to the lands of the Zirids to profit from the trans-Saharan trade. He wanted to personally embark on the trade too, but he never got the chance initially according to his own writing. However, the marriage of the princess and his inclusion in the dowry presented a golden chance for him.

From his writing, we gain an excellent insight into the new lands that the Banu Khattab had expanded into. Namely the oasises and desert settlements of Bilma, Fachi and Daura. His manuscripts are used as reference in this chapter. His writing is not a typical geographer's manuscript per se. His writing is of a very episodic and descriptive nature. He often describes various kinds of people that he met and details of conversations that he had with them.

But first, we are going to see his details about the caravan of the desert and its journey.




Huge caravans of the Sahara.

He first describes his caravan in much detail. Each caravan is made up of thousands of individual traders with their camels, retinues and servants all accompanying them. Most caravans also have some kind of a private army to protect them in the desert. The leader is called the Khabir. His installation according to the Sheikh was a formal affair, sealed with the recitation of the Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Quran. The Khabir, a common man in other times was the lord and master of the caravan in the desert. He commanded the caravan with full authority. His was a daunting task. An ideal Khabir had to know the desert like the back of his hand. He must know each and every small town or tribal enclave in the desert. He must know all the routes, byroutes and dangerous tracts in the desert. He must know all the remedies for the various ill effects of the desert ranging from typhoid and desert fever to scorpion and snake bite. Along with that, he must also know all the otherworldly dangers of the desert ranging from various kinds of ghosts to legendary desert monsters.


The Khabir of the caravn. The most important man.

Along with the Khabir were also some other important appointees. Each caravan was accompanied by a respected Inam and a group of scribes to record the journey and the expenses. These were also chosen wisely from among the most bright minds on both sides of the Sahara. The Inam was also responsible for calling and leading the daily Namaz and also to bury the dead, settle inheritance and to also deal religious justice to anyone who wanted it.


The Inam was the second most important man in the caravan. Here, he is seen leading the Namaz prayers.

Below them were many other minor appointees for a myriad of different tasks ranging from those in charge of grazing the common camels to the guards who worked in shifts to the desert guides, these were called as Takshif and often guided the Khabir on tracts of land that he did not know about. The last in the hierarchy were the slaves who worked in back breaking labour all day under the hot sun, lived in crowded slave camps and died in huge numbers during the journey. Most of the times, these slaves were not given any kind of animal to ride on and were simply dragged behind the caravan in chains if they could not walk.


Slaves being dragged across the desert.


Many well armed guards accompanied the caravan.

The Sheikh writes that as soon as the caravan begin leaving Tripoli for the journey south, the womanfolk of the travellers would exchange amulets and other sacred symbols with their menfolk to protect them from the infinite dangers of the desert. The men in return would sometimes take vows of chastity to procure divine protection. Others simply did not bother and lived a more practical life filled with smoking, woman and music.

For Music, the caravan had its own party of ragtag musicians. They played music, mostly after dusk around the campfires while the designated cooks prepared the food. The main instruments were a mixture from both sides of the Sahara ranging from sophisticated Arabian Clarinets to rough Hausa goatskin drums. Male musicians during this period were called Alateeyeh (plural), or Alatee (singular) and female musicians, called Awalim also accompanied the caravan thought the latter were always a part of some rich merchant's party rather than the property of the caravan.
Additionally, if there were pilgrims in the caravan, they would often have their own instruments and would travel to the sound of hymns taken from the Quran. These men were often given a lot of respect and many times travelled for free, their expenses being covered by someone in the caravan to get religious goodwill.


An Awalim(Female entertainer) performing.

The Sheikh also writes of internal clashes in the caravan rising from drinking alcohol. Islam forbids drinking alcohol, however, many in the caravan disregarded this law and drank in huge parties. He writes of one such incident where the Inam complained to the Khabir about this problem while they were in the middle of the desert. That particular Khabir was a religious man, but he was also level-headed, he did not want any problems while they were in the desert. So he bided his time and waited for the caravan to reach the next settlement.

The caravan's arrival in any settlement was a cause of much excitement and fervour for the locals. The Sheikh writes that as soon as the caravan reached the oasis of Django(See map in previous chapters), the locals came outside in their richest and most cleaned clothes. The caravan would offer camp outside the walls or boundaries of the settlement and took an appearance of a temporary market as goods were bought and sold along with supplies and slaves. Many mercenaries also joined the caravan as guards in these places, in many cases to replace those who had died before in the journey. Many merchants in the caravan would keep some goods in the security of some reputable men to collect on their return journey in exchange for a price. It was also here, that the caravan paid its taxes to the local warlords and authorities.


Scene at some local market in a desert settlement, often the best part of the same.


Female slaves being sold to the caravan at some settlement, notice the walls of the settlement in the distance, the caravan often camped outside them.

The Sheikh writes, that just as they were about to leave Django, the Khabir caught the men who were drinking alcohol and confiscated all their wines. They had no choice, if the Khabir abandoned them, then they would face a very difficult time ahead. So they did not hold grudges.

Lastly, the Sheikh praises his caravan's Khabir by comparing him with stories of other Khabirs that he had heard. One particular Khabir sold his entire caravan in slavery on reaching the land of the Hausas. Another, charged gold coins for drinking water, a very important supply. It is understandable that in such a deadly environment, you begin to praise the only man responsible for your well being, the Khabir. This seems to have happened with the Sheikh as is clear from his praises for the Khabir.


Richer members in the caravan often travelled in palaquins.

We will discuss his description of the southern territories in the next chapter.
 

stnylan

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A long hard trek
 

Crimson Lionheart

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A life told and experienced within the desert
 

lad

First Lieutenant
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Apr 3, 2018
243
2
A long hard trek
Of course . It's hard place of hard men.
Thanks for commenting

Always informative and, as ever, I love your selection of pictures!
Thanks man
I am thinking of increasing non gameplay pictures now
It's too tiring to take and upload all those screenshots and takes my mind off the actual storytelling.

A life told and experienced within the desert
Thanks so much for commenting man
Yeah
The main aim of this AAR is to drag readers into the Hot Sahara desert and keep them their
Immerse them
 

lad

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243
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Can anyone make a fancy link for this AAR to put in my signature
I would really like to have one


If I like your work then as a prize an Islamic version of your name shall be the name of the next heir to the Banu Khattab !!!
 

Herbert West

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A word of advice, Lad. Your writing and presentation are strong enough to stand on their own. Really, your work is good.

You need not aggressively encourage people to comment. I for one, think it is a bit off-putting.

Also, here you go:
Lanes of the Sahara: A Banu Khattab AAR

I don't think images or fancier things are allowed, alas.
 

lad

First Lieutenant
On Probation
Apr 3, 2018
243
2
A word of advice, Lad. Your writing and presentation are strong enough to stand on their own. Really, your work is good.

You need not aggressively encourage people to comment. I for one, think it is a bit off-putting.

Also, here you go:
Lanes of the Sahara: A Banu Khattab AAR

I don't think images or fancier things are allowed, alas.
Okay . I won't aggressively look for comments now.
You have won. My new heir will have your name .
:):cool:

And thanks so much for your feedback !
I really like it
Your comments are like fuel to me
They help me march on
:):):):):):):)
 
Last edited:
A study on the accounts of Sheikh Talim(Part 2)

lad

First Lieutenant
On Probation
Apr 3, 2018
243
2
Chapter 6

This is a short chapter by the author to describe the situation in the conquered settlements of Bilma, Fachi and Daura. It is written, unlike the other chapters in a very technical and un-narrative format using many modern notations. The writer would like to thank the Imperial University of Elsass-Lothringen for this data.

The Banu Khattab conquered Bilma in 1072. It hadn't changed much when Sheikh Talim went there 17 years later in 1089.
Bilma features a hot desert climate. The town lies deep in the heart of the Sahara desert, more precisely in the Tenera, an hyper-arid desert region lying over northeastern Niger and western Chad, and as such is extremely dry, averaging only 12.7 mm (0.50 in) of measurable precipitation annually. Bilma is also hot during the "winter" months and extremely hot during the summer months and for prolonged periods of time. Average high temperatures in "winter" months surpass 27 °C (81 °F), and exceed 40 °C (104 °F) from April to September inclusively, peaking at 44 °C (111 °F) in June. The sunshine duration is extremely high year-round with some 4,000 h of bright sunshine annually. The region excels at hot, sunny and dry weather.
Bilma was mostly famous for its salt mines. These were deathly hellish places were slaves toiled all their life trying to dig up and separate salt from the ground. Salt was an oft ignored but very important commodity for the Trans-Saharan trade and this isolated oasis was the only place along with Fachi where one could get salt for thousands of miles around. As a result, the oasis was filled with a few rich men who paid taxes to the Malik Hiba and the remaining populance served these men.
Additionally, the Sheikh also wrote a few detailed descriptions about the oasis.
"The village has mud brick walls and a fort like appearance, possibly Bilma. Most people were either Berbers or blacks community. Some of the young boys in blue robes had partially shaved heads. Mud walls surrounded the town. Women carried water on their heads. Camels were being loaded with goods, including a live goat which was strapped to a camel’s back. Donkeys and cattle roamed freely in large quantities on its sullen streets. Everywhere, there were square cut water filled holes in the rocks for salt production. Stacks of round salt blocks and long cone shaped blocks lied in the sun. The salt buyers were wrapping the salt cones in woven baskets for strapping to the camels."


Water flowing at Bilma oasis.


Bilma salt mine. Salt was extracted from the sand and from the ground water formed after sparse rains.

Fachi is an oasis surrounded by the Ténéré desert and the dunes of the Erg of Bilma in eastern Niger, placed on the western edge of the small Agram mountain outcropping. It had an estimated population of some 2000 people. A stopping point of the Agadez to Kaouar caravans of the Azalay, Fachi is 240 kilometres (150 miles) west of Bilma and 320 km (200 mi) east of the Aïr Mountains. Apart from water, dates, and most importantly, locally mined salt, Fachi produces no provisions, and depends entirely upon trade in these products with passing caravans.

Frequently raided by Tuareg and other Bedouins in its past, the town was built within high fortifications, known locally as a ksar, built from banco salt blocks. These had been demolished down by Malik Hiba's armies during his conquest but were rebuilt by him a few years later.


The settlement of Fachi(Left) ; The Ksar fortifications(Right)


The salt mine at Fachi.


This excavated site of the salt storehouse at Fachi also housed caged rooms for keeping the slaves and provides a fabulous insight into its brutal history. It was located onsite right near the salt mine.


Salt, the bloodline of Fachi and Bilma.

The Erg of Bilma is a dune sea in the Ténéré desert region of the south central Sahara Desert. The Erg of Bilma stretches southwest from Fachi and the Tibesti Mountains. On the west it is bounded by the Aïr Mountains in north central Niger, and to the east it passes Bilma. It surrounds on three sides the oasis of Bilma, southernmost of a north–south string of oases of the Kaouar rise. The Erg covers an area of approximately 455,000 square kilometres (176,000 sq mi). This natural fortifications made it hard for those not accustomed to the desert to attack Bilma and Fachi.


View of the landscape in the deathly Erg of Bilma.

At its southernmost edge, some of the dunes have been stabilized by the growth of vegetation, allowing human cultivation of crops like millet and sorghum on the slopes.
Daura on the other hand was a very culturally developed place. According to Sheikh Talim's accounts, it was the very border of his world and was filled with pitch Black Hausa peoples with not one Arab or Berber in sight(Except for 3 representatives of the Banu Khattab). Beyond Daura were unknown lands full of cruel and unknown beasts.
However, the Sheikh also says that unlike Fachi and Bilma which were just small oasises, Daura was a well developed town.
The town lies in a savanna zone. An ancient settlement, the name of Daura means “blacksmith” in the Tuareg language, it was founded by a queen and was ruled by women in the 9th century and 10th centuries. This did not change even after its conquest by the Banu Khattab as its ruling nobility remained the same. It is the spiritual home of the Hausa people: a well-known legend of western Africa relates that Bayajida (Abuyazidu), a son of the king of Baghdad, killed Sarki, the fetish snake at the town’s well, and married the reigning Daura queen. Their descendants became the seven rulers of the Hausa Bakwai (The Seven True Hausa States). Daura thus became a Hausa state that stretched across the borders of present-day Nigeria and Niger. Daura town became a caravan centre for salt and potash from the Sahara Desert and for cloth, slaves, leather, and agricultural produce from the south; but it never gained the political or military prominence of Katsina (49 miles [79 km] west) or of Kano (73 miles [117 km] south). Nevertheless, Daura remained a very important and last stop for many Sahara trade caravans.
Daura also represented the end of the long, hard Sahara desert and a sense of relief for all travellers.

The Sheikh describes in one passage, the trade and trade goods of the strange city.
"Local trade in Daura is primarily in sorghum, millet, onions, peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, and hides and skins; cattle, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys are kept by its Hausa and Fulani inhabitants. Cotton weaving and peanut collecting (for export) are significant economic activities."

Lastly the Sheikh also reports this
"The local general of the Hausas who fought against the Malik Hiba in the name of the Chieftess is forever guarding the gates of Daura. After the battle, he was caught and jailed. He was then chained and buried chest deep in the scorching desert sun without food or water and in the company of stinging red ants till death. After that, the Malik had his skull removed and perched on a spear to serve as a welcoming sign at the gates of Daura."


Men in Daura.


This painting shows a typical Daura house built with mudbrick and with a large, bare courtyard.
 
Last edited:

lad

First Lieutenant
On Probation
Apr 3, 2018
243
2
Yes, this was a very boring chapter, but it was necessary. Its written mostly from Wikipedia, but with some added spice to not make it bland like Wikipedia.
;)
We resume gameplay story from the next chapter onwards.

P.S- I am sure you must have guessed the situation in the world at the time the author is writing the report/thesis and which country dominates it. If not, then look again, there are clues.

Tell me if you found it .
:):):):)
 
Last edited:

Crimson Lionheart

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This information is pretty neat!
 

Captured Joe

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  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Heir to the Throne
  • March of the Eagles
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • For the Motherland
  • Semper Fi
There isn't much gameplay or story progression to comment about in the last couple of chapters... but there'll probably more of comments when the story resumes in future chapters.