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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Ibn Al Qalanisi doesnt mention whether this was a mixed army with all kinds of troops, or just some drafted footmen. I would guess, that they were a professional army, composed of infantry, archers, archer cav, and lancers.


If so, then it is possible that a few hundred cavalry were killed in the battle, and that most of the infantry were killed or captured in the rout. The survivors among the cavalry probably would have scattered, and with the deaths, the chroniclers might have recorded that the division was annihilated.

Any information about the topography and the deployment of the armies?
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Phill Lappin




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Ibn Al Qalanisi doesnt mention whether this was a mixed army with all kinds of troops, or just some drafted footmen. I would guess, that they were a professional army, composed of infantry, archers, archer cav, and lancers.
I doubt they were all professional, very few armies were made up of professionals at the time. However the Christian knights would have been considered professional, so there could be a big difference right there. Generally only cavalry and archers were professional, most of the infantry would have most likely been conscripted peasants with little experience.
I think what has happened here is that the muslims were over confident bue to their overwhelming numbers, instead of staying out of range and firing arrows (which would have worked, as there was no plate at this stage) they marched on them (which is another reason for me to think the majority of the army were conscripted peasants).

In any case I'm a bit confused buy your description of the battle;
Quote:
Gilles, upon seeing these forces approach, divided his petty force of 300 into four, two 100 divisions, one to face the Tripoli army, and one to face the Damascene army, 50 to the Emesan force, and 50 as a core around himself. Once the fighting commenced,upon the first clash, the Emesan army was immediatly routed, followed shortly by the Damascene army. The force from Tripoli slaughtered the 50 knights sent against them, Gilles, sent the other two 100 man divisions against the remaining army, and they cut it up.
At first you say there were a hundred men sent against Tripoli, but then you say that the Tripoli army defeated the 50 knights sent against them?

Either way it seems that the first cavalry charge routed the Emesan and Damascene forces, then probably hit the Tripoli forces in the flanks, this was a common and devestating attack.

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S. Al-Anizi





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 10:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max von Bargen wrote:
S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Ibn Al Qalanisi doesnt mention whether this was a mixed army with all kinds of troops, or just some drafted footmen. I would guess, that they were a professional army, composed of infantry, archers, archer cav, and lancers.


If so, then it is possible that a few hundred cavalry were killed in the battle, and that most of the infantry were killed or captured in the rout. The survivors among the cavalry probably would have scattered, and with the deaths, the chroniclers might have recorded that the division was annihilated.

Any information about the topography and the deployment of the armies?


Yes, the author does mention that the battle took place in the plateau next to Mount Lebanon. A large, hilly plain. He also mentions the muslim army/s encircling the christian forces.
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S. Al-Anizi





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phill Lappin wrote:
S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Ibn Al Qalanisi doesnt mention whether this was a mixed army with all kinds of troops, or just some drafted footmen. I would guess, that they were a professional army, composed of infantry, archers, archer cav, and lancers.
I doubt they were all professional, very few armies were made up of professionals at the time. However the Christian knights would have been considered professional, so there could be a big difference right there. Generally only cavalry and archers were professional, most of the infantry would have most likely been conscripted peasants with little experience.
I think what has happened here is that the muslims were over confident bue to their overwhelming numbers, instead of staying out of range and firing arrows (which would have worked, as there was no plate at this stage) they marched on them (which is another reason for me to think the majority of the army were conscripted peasants).

In any case I'm a bit confused buy your description of the battle;
Quote:
Gilles, upon seeing these forces approach, divided his petty force of 300 into four, two 100 divisions, one to face the Tripoli army, and one to face the Damascene army, 50 to the Emesan force, and 50 as a core around himself. Once the fighting commenced,upon the first clash, the Emesan army was immediatly routed, followed shortly by the Damascene army. The force from Tripoli slaughtered the 50 knights sent against them, Gilles, sent the other two 100 man divisions against the remaining army, and they cut it up.
At first you say there were a hundred men sent against Tripoli, but then you say that the Tripoli army defeated the 50 knights sent against them?

Either way it seems that the first cavalry charge routed the Emesan and Damascene forces, then probably hit the Tripoli forces in the flanks, this was a common and devestating attack.


As I said earlier, this was a guess, although I agree with you, fully professional armies rarely went on field. Usually, most of the infantry were peasant conscripts armed with spears.

Sorry about the confusion, 50 100 man thing is a typo, I meant to say 100, the tripoli army slaughtered the 100 sent against them.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 11:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A large force if it acts with no plan or cohesion, as individuals, and not as an organized group, it won't be effective against a small but well armoured fighters, who are almost untouchable, on a one on one basis by lightly armed and armoured troops who don't have a single effective weapon in their hands.

Now a very large force like this might " MOB " a small number of these almost invulnerable warriors if they act together and don't loose heart as their casualties pile up. The small armoured group would also have to be immobilized and in an unfavourable tactical position. But, I think defeat for the Knights would only happen if and when they got too tired to move their sword arms or collapsed from heat exhaustion.

Again the large attacking force would have to endure a large " butcher " bill.
( Note: The above being just my opinion. )

Oh, and S. Al-Anizi a warm welcome to this site and a very interesting first Topic. Cool Big Grin

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S. Al-Anizi





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2006 11:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
A large force if it acts with no plan or cohesion, as individuals, and not as an organized group, it won't be effective against a small but well armoured fighters, who are almost untouchable, on a one on one basis by lightly armed and armoured troops who don't have a single effective weapon in their hands.

Now a very large force like this might " MOB " a small number of these almost invulnerable warriors if they act together and don't loose heart as their casualties pile up. The small armoured group would also have to be immobilized and in an unfavourable tactical position. But, I think defeat for the Knights would only happen if and when they got too tired to move their sword arms or collapsed from heat exhaustion.

Again the large attacking force would have to endure a large " butcher " bill.
( Note: The above being just my opinion. )

Oh, and S. Al-Anizi a warm welcome to this site and a very interesting first Topic. Cool Big Grin


This is also the case at Thermopalyae. If this is the case, then how did later Islamic armies crush crusader ones, as in Sarmada, and Hattin?

Thanks alot for the warm welcome Happy
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Phill Lappin




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Aug, 2006 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Better commanders, better strategy. The muslims used their knowledge of the landscape better, especially in regards to sources of water.
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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Aug, 2006 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phill Lappin wrote:
Better commanders, better strategy. The muslims used their knowledge of the landscape better, especially in regards to sources of water.


Exactly how Saladin defeated the Crusaders at Hattin. Also, they occasionally managed to catch the Crusaders while they (the Crusaders) were divided into smaller units and engaged them piecemeal. Later on, the Crusader kingdoms began to suffer from severe manpower shortages because of a lack of Crusading fervor, or because the Crusaders decided to attack other parts of non-Christian Europe and Africa. The Crusades to Tunisia and the Baltic states didn't do too much to help out the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Also, the Crusades to Egypt, which might have helped, were beset by poor planning and bad luck.

Going back to the original topic, since the battle was fought on a plain (even a hilly plain), and since the Crusaders themselves were surrounded, it seems unlikely that the entire division from Tripoli would have been slaughtered, although, as I said earlier, probably most of the infantry would have been killed or captured.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:


When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.



But since this presumably applied to both sides in the example in question, wouldn't it tend to cancel out?
Geoff


Moslem great expansion dates back to the 7th century, the crusader movement had started afresh following intense work by preachers all over Europe.

Somehow the crusader's faith had ben rekindled pretty recently, islamic states were instead at their peak.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Al-Anizi wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:
The moslem and christian world never lost contact, on the contrary they continued to trade goods continously as well as to make wars occasionally, while moslem armies were ably to occupy european territories such as in Sicily and for longer in Spain: we are speaking of two opposed sides of the mediterranean sea that had been politically united under roman empire, while never really divided technologically by the arab/moslem conquest of the and Middle east and North Africa.

Both parties were aware of the other side's way of life and mores, even if accounts were often imprecise or mythicized to som extent.

As of the topic's question, it is to be taken into account that this little army fought with a weapon that much later would be forgotten in the western world: faith.

Faith can explain apparently impossible feats, it was a sort of faith that guided the Greeks at marathon against an overpowering persian army, it was a deeply rooted faith that guided the Crusaders, the faith in being given Paradise and eternal salvation for their souls for having fought for God on this earth.

It was the faith in Mohammed and his new god that led an army of desert outcasts to conquer an empire in the Middle East and north Africa substituting itself to a still powerful byzantine empire.

Modern western positivism forgets to take this into account, our arab guests strangely seems to be doing the same.

The moslem world is still rooted in a world vision depending strictly upon faith, exactly as our middle ages ancestors were: a fact that certain modern strategists and politicians are quite oblivious to.

When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.


Bruno,

I must agree with you. Faith can turn a bunch of nomads into great warriors, but it stll does not give off good leadership. The best examples of this are the early arab armies and their conquests, where they did have the newly formed, extremely strong faith, and very good, veteran leadership. Thats what made them so effective, even so they had never encountered Persian armies, Byzantine armies, and Visigothis armies, yet they crushed every army in their way. Just the same with the crusaders. Yet, i still cannot imagine, if those numbers are indeed true, how a 10,000 strong coaltion, even if they were formed in the situation Felix had thankfully proposed, how such a force would be annihilated by some 300 knights. Thats if those numbers were indeed true.


There was an intense debate some decades ago about western historians on the reliability of the numbers provided by classical writers.

The tendency was to consider such figures symbolical, rather than precise.

Modern archeology seems to be giving back credibility to such authors, but the old theory still holds many points.
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:


When people think they are realizing God's will their strength multiplies manifold.



But since this presumably applied to both sides in the example in question, wouldn't it tend to cancel out?
Geoff


Moslem great expansion dates back to the 7th century, the crusader movement had started afresh following intense work by preachers all over Europe.

Somehow the crusader's faith had ben rekindled pretty recently, islamic states were instead at their peak.


An interesting argument, but I find it difficult to imagine that Muslims at the time were lacking in faith, and surely the first secular islamic state was still several centuires away. Granted, they were out of their initial 'inflationary' period, but Islam was still an actively proselytising religion and was still not at its Western Eurasian peak in geographical terms. If the imbalance in actual numbers was at, or near, the figures quoted above, then they would only have to have had their strength multiplied, say, two fold ( a mild faith effect), to more than outweigh a tenfold increase (a strong faith effect) in strength of the Christians present (I choose those figures merely for illustration, you understand).
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J. Bedell




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
but I find it difficult to imagine that Muslims at the time were lacking in faith


It's not that the Muslims were lacking in faith but because it was near the beginning of the crusades the christians were in a religious frenzy. It's hard for any army to stand up to a bunch of armed zealots, although I do still doubt the accuracy of the numbers given.

-James

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Bedell wrote:
Quote:
but I find it difficult to imagine that Muslims at the time were lacking in faith


It's not that the Muslims were lacking in faith but because it was near the beginning of the crusades the christians were in a religious frenzy. It's hard for any army to stand up to a bunch of armed zealots, although I do still doubt the accuracy of the numbers given.

-James


From the behaviour of many of them (particularly the more wealthy, heavy cavalry types) one gets the impression that religion was not the sole motivation of crusaders. Also, I'm not sure of the accuracy of the term frenzy. Wouldn't it be rather tiring and contrary to success in a sustained expedition to be in a frenzy? Once one gets to battle, I imagine ones religious faith is somewhat rekindled, if only because of the imminent possibility of finding out how accurately one's religion predicts the outcome in the event of death, but, as before, wouldn't this apply to both sides (as in most wars).
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J. Bedell




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hmm I think I was a bit off in saying frenzy. I just meant that they had very recent very compelling religious motivations. Also, religion was of course not the only motivation for some...

I think that the christians would have a greater pride for their religion because they were trying to conquer the "infidels" for God. But on the other hand, defending your homeland in the name of Allah is just as motivating. Either way, even if the christians were in a religious frenzy (yes a true frenzy) I find it hard to believe that they won against such odds.

-James

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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Bedell wrote:
But on the other hand, defending your homeland in the name of Allah is just as motivating.


Not sure about this, but I think that in 1102 the Muslims had not yet initiated the holy war against the Christians. I thought that Saladin was the first to use the jihad, or the first to use it effectively. I'm no authority on the Crusades, and I might be wrong, but I think that in the early phases of the Crusades the Crusaders were still the only ones actually using religion as a motivating factor for their troops. I'm open to any corrections here, though.
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J. Bedell




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max I believe you are correct, the Muslims hadn't officially declared it as a holy war. I do think though that if an enemy tries to conquer you in the name of his god, it would be difficult not to use your religion as further motivation.
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Bedell wrote:
Max I believe you are correct, the Muslims hadn't officially declared it as a holy war. I do think though that if an enemy tries to conquer you in the name of his god, it would be difficult not to use your religion as further motivation.


I tend to agree, particularly given that Islam is/was perhaps somewhat less hierarchical (spelling?) than was western Christianity at the time. They may not have needed an equivalent of a Pope to tell them 'offically' to start getting annoyed a the 'other lot'.
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S. Al-Anizi





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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
J. Bedell wrote:
Max I believe you are correct, the Muslims hadn't officially declared it as a holy war. I do think though that if an enemy tries to conquer you in the name of his god, it would be difficult not to use your religion as further motivation.


I tend to agree, particularly given that Islam is/was perhaps somewhat less hierarchical (spelling?) than was western Christianity at the time. They may not have needed an equivalent of a Pope to tell them 'offically' to start getting annoyed a the 'other lot'.


I do believe that the holy war at that time must have been declared by the Caliph himself, although a puppet without any real power at the time of the crusades, the caliph still held religious authority, being the highest figure in the Islamic state.
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Aug, 2006 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max von Bargen wrote:
J. Bedell wrote:
But on the other hand, defending your homeland in the name of Allah is just as motivating.


Not sure about this, but I think that in 1102 the Muslims had not yet initiated the holy war against the Christians. I thought that Saladin was the first to use the jihad, or the first to use it effectively. I'm no authority on the Crusades, and I might be wrong, but I think that in the early phases of the Crusades the Crusaders were still the only ones actually using religion as a motivating factor for their troops. I'm open to any corrections here, though.


No, you are absolutely right. After the fall of Jerusalem, the Muslim refugees who managed to reach Damascus and other places of safety started talking about holy war, but it wasn't until two generations later, with Nur al-Din, that a ruler started pushing this idea. Remember, this battle in 1102 was the result of the hasty alliance of equal-status emirs, who, before the Crusade happened, were all in competition with each other - it is likely their forces had actually fought each other within the last 20 years or so - so there was no ideological glue holding them together.
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