- Aug 6, 2009
The Sultan of Mauretania's bid for Hispania and Arabia
|This is a gameplay/narrative AAR centered on the Shia Idrisid dynasty based in Mauretania, starting in 867. Historically the dynasty was in decline in this period and would be removed from power in 895 altogether. AAR describes an attempt to not only survive, but unify the Muslims of Northwest Africa and Andalusia, conquer Hispania, and resist the inevitable European attempts at Reconquista.|
I like playing Muslim nations, personally, even with the original decadence system introduced in the Sword of Islam expansion. Since there are not many AARs based on Islamic dynasties, I may include short walkthroughs or Let’s Play videos if anyone is interested in the details of how I play them. I may restart the AAR to stay up to date if the coming Rajas of India expansion will dramatically alter the decadence system.
Since I don’t know very much about Islam, suggestions for improving the narrative are always welcome. In any case I will make every effort to be respectful to all faiths represented here.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Sultan Yahya 'The Bold'
January 1, 867
It was not long after his wife’s funeral that Sultan Yahya II of the Idrisid dynasty came to the realization that it was time to undertake the Hajj. The Sultan held court in the walled city of Marrakech, the Capitol of the Sultanate of Mauretania. It the one of the largest settlements among the arid plains and mountains in Northwest Africa. In the gathering darkness one evening, he passed along the news to his courtiers after the evening meal.
Sultan Yahya II in 867.
He told them that he felt compelled to draw closer to Allah while in the depths of mourning. His chief steward, Mayor Qutaiba of Tata, suspected it was more likely the Sultan wanted to be away from home for a time, and the duties and sadness that lingered here. In truth, both of these reasons were correct in equal measure. But there was a more dubious motive as well, which the Sultan chose to keep to himself. Preparations for the arduous journey across the entirety of North Africa began in the morning.
The Idrisid Dynastic line
|The twenty-one year old, newly minted Sultan had only recently come to power after the loss of his father. Now, his six-year old son Al-Qasim granted to him by his late wife, and his nephews Ali (also 6 years old) and Idris (5) were the only living members of his clan.|
Before departing, Yahya instructed his Grand Vizier, Abakada of Marrakech, to search for potential brides among the nobles of Mauretanian tribes and into Andalusia, to the north. Curiously, and without explanation, he insisted that Abakada not approach any Ibadi nobles to the east. These people, who functioned effectively as the autonomous Rustamid Emirate under Emir Aflah in eastern Mauretania, were considered heretics of the Sunni branch of the faith. As Shia, Yahya (as well as the majority of the people in his Sultanate) was largely uninterested in the religious disputes of the Sunnis. That made his order all the more curious to Abakada. Nonetheless the counselor agreed with a curt bow and disappeared to begin his correspondences.
Family and tradition meant a great deal to Yahya II. His dynasty had been founded by the Sultan Idris I of Mauretania in 788. Sultan Idris was the great-great grandchild of Fatimah bint Muhammad, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad himself. Yahya II was the sixth sultan in the dynasty that bore the name of its founder. Despite this unbroken line of succession, the Sultanate’s sphere of influence had diminished over recent years, leaving Yahya in direct control of only the western portion of Mauretania, and nominally at that. This was a state of affairs that the young Sultan fully intended to change in his lifetime. To that end, Yahya had a plan.
At the last minute Mayor Amma decided to join him for the Hajj, which was a welcome surprise. Yahya hoped that perhaps the Mayor could help him develop his administrative skills while on the journey. Together with a handful of bodyguards, the small group departed on the seventh of January.
January 21, 867: War with Andalusia
Little did the Sultan know the chaos that would engulf his lands just days after his departure.
On the twenty-first of January, the powerful Sultan Muhammad Umayyad of Andalusia, whose lands comprised the majority of the Iberian Peninsula, declared an unprovoked holy war on Mauretania for the Emirate of Fes. Sheikh Yunus of Tamdoult, Yahya’s talented Marshal, took control of the situation. Riders flew in every direction to call the levies to Marrakech. His initial plan was simple: to mass his forces in the mountains around the capitol. This would allow the anticipated larger Andalusian force to occupy El Rif, in the north of Fes, where they would likely siege the fortress of Melilla. Some time later, just as the defenders of Melilla were beginning to falter, he would round up every mercenary he could find and march to relieve the castle. Hopefully, be it the will of Allah, by that time the attackers may be weakened by their siege and might shatter before him. If not, loss of the Emirate of Fes, which comprised almost half of Mauretania, would be catastrophic. Yunus knew his life depended on the outcome of this unjust incursion by their neighbors, and a decisive victory was absolutely necessary.