Queen Isabel of Castile united Castile and Aragon to create modern Spain. She also inspired the Queen piece in the modern game of Chess.
“Better to pasture camels than be a swine-herd” (Al-Mutamid of Seville)
With the Christians putting increasing pressure on the Muslims of the south, the Taifa kings were forced to call upon their Moroccan brethren for assistance. This wasn’t an easy decision but in the end each decided it was better than subjugation by the Christians.
When Al-Muzaffar – Al-Mansur’s son – died in 1008 the power in Al-Andalus was divided between three factions or parties (Taifas): the old nobility of either Arab or Berber origin, recent Berber mercenaries, and the “Slavs” (slaves, often European, with Military of Civil roles). The factions started taking over long before the last of the Umayyad Caliphs, Hisham III, disappeared in 1031. The period closes when the Taifa kings call upon the Moroccan Al-Murabitun to protect them from the encroaching Christians.
A sub-branch of the Umayyad family ruled Spain from 755 until 1030. These were the glory years for the Muslims in Spain. Although puppet Caliphs lingered on until 1031, the power of the Umayyad’s was broken by 1002 when the vizier Al-Mansur died.
Although raiders had crossed from Morocco for several years it was Tariq ibn Ziyad, in 711, that led the first major invasion force.
Samuel Ha-Nagid interests me because he was both a poet and a military leader. He is also unusual by being one of only two Jews to command Medieval Muslim armies (his son, Joseph, was the other).
A chronological list of Muslim rulers in Al-Andalus.
Arab fashions came and went, but there were certain patterns which applied across all Muslim lands: I give a general description then some specifics from certain regions.
A quick look at key bits of kit.
Some notes on the composition of the various armies.