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The Moors: The Islamic West 7th-15th Centuries AD (Men-at-Arms) Paperback – Illustrated, 16 Jan 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (16 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855329646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855329645
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 545,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Dr David Nicolle was born in 1944, the son of the illustrator Pat Nicolle. He worked in the BBC Arabic service before going 'back to school', gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a PhD from Edinburgh University. He later taught World and Islamic art and architectural history at Yarmuk University, Jordan. He has written a number of books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years. Angus McBride, one of the world's most respected historical illustrators, has contributed to more than 70 Osprey titles over the past 25 years. Bom in 1931 of Highland parents but orphaned as a child, he recoived a musical education at Canterbury Cathedral Choir School in 1940-45. He worked in advertising agencies from 1947, and is a self-taught artist. He currently lives and works in Cape Town. South Africa.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
NORTH AFRICA and the Iberian peninsula were in cultural and economic decline for centuries before the muslims arrived in the early 8th century. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Weisenwolf on 22 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only UK review on this book so far is a completely unfair affair by an obviously disgruntled person of poor judgement. If the reviewer wanted a book on El Cid perhaps he could have purchased one, such as the Osprey title 'El Cid and the Reconquista?

This book covers a huge (800 year) period so it ought to come as no surprise to the discerning Reader that it is not very specific. My knowledge of this chunk of the Medieval world could have been squeezed onto the back of a postage stamp: should you be in a similar boat then this could be for you.

David Nicolle provides a potted history of the spread of Islam across the chiefly Berber North Africa and the rise and fall of the various dynasties and Caliphates including the establishment of Moorish Spain. He does a Great job of painting this broad backdrop and an excellent job of pointing out both the similarities between Moorish armies and the more familiar Saracen Middle East as well as highlighting the differences and in this task Angus McBrides excellent illustrations help it along quite nicely. Similarly it details the evolution of the Spanish forces too as they developed from their Muslim roots towards a more European army.

I found this book entertaining and it does what it says on the cover i.e. tells you about `The Moors and the Islamic West' over an 800 year period. For a 48 page soft back book it is obviously overpriced (20p a page!) and it shamefully plugs Osprey products in the text but these points are true of all Osprey titles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very much agree with Weisenwolf (on Amazon.co.uk): this booklet is one of the "good Osprey Men-at-Arms" that delivers the goods, and with all the limitations that you can expect from a 48 pages booklet that is supposed to cover some 900 years. Unsurprisingly, it is just an overview. Interestingly, however, it does more than simply scratch the surface. It mostly avoids the risk of being too superficial, although I found that the sections covering the 13th to 15th centuries were somewhat "lighter" in content than the others. There is also little on the Conquest but, in all fairness, this is covered in another volume.

The Golden Age of Cordoba and the Berber States from the mid-8th to the 11th century make up a quarter of the book, get center stage and perhaps even preferential treatment. This is rather unsurprising because they do represent the Muslim Apogee during the whole period. These sections were probably the most interesting of all, with the author not limiting himself to armies, dress and equipment only, but also delving into military architecture and, very correctly, the navies of these States who became very significant naval powers during the period. I would have wanted to learn a bit more about the Almoravides and the Almohades - to give them their "westernised" names (rather than the Arabic ones which David Nicolle uses), but this is where the author probably had to make some painful choices.

Anyway, the most important point is whether this booklet delivers a decent overview or not and whether it makes you want to more. As far as I am concerned, the answer is a resounding yes in both cases. Right from the very beginning, when the introduction sets the scene very well, most, if not all, of the key points are made.
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11 of 32 people found the following review helpful By "polarblue1" on 14 July 2003
Format: Paperback
If you are like me and are thinking of buying this book because you are interested in the el cid period in spanish history then dont bother.There isnt one single colour plate that was any use to me(i paint and collect wargames miniatures).For some reason there was not any mention of the word almoravids, the author prefering to use the other lesser known name of murabitan instead. Alright i suppose but when you are new to the period like i am ,it was a bit confusing. Also what was one of the most famous units of the almoravid/almohad armies? yes the black guard....any mention or picture...no.
Ive ordered the el cid and armies of islam men at arms titles... i hope they are better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Typical Osprey book 29 Mar. 2007
By K. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The usual Osprey coverage combining McBride's beautiful artwork with Nicolle's knowledge of medieval Islamic warfare. A great introduction to the political and military history, and a detailed source on the arms and armor, of the African and Arab warriors who held much of Spain for seven centuries.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A good one in the series... 4 Sept. 2012
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I very much agree with Weisenwolf (on Amazon.co.uk): this booklet is one of the "good Osprey Men-at-Arms" that delivers the goods, and with all the limitations that you can expect from a 48 pages booklet that is supposed to cover some 900 years. Unsurprisingly, it is just an overview. Interestingly, however, it does more than simply scratch the surface. It mostly avoids the risk of being too superficial, although I found that the sections covering the 13th to 15th centuries were somewhat "lighter" in content. There is also little on the Conquest but, in all fairness, this is covered in another volume.

The Golden Age of Cordoba and the Berber States from the mid-8th to the 11th century make up a quarter of the book, gets center stage and perhaps even preferential treatment. This is rather unsurprising because they do represent the Muslim Apogee in the region. These sections were probably the most interesting of all, with the author not limiting himself to armies, dress and equipment, but also delving into military architecture and, very correctly, the navies of these States who became very significant naval powers during the period. I would have wanted to learn a bit more about the Almoravides and the Almohades - to give them their "westernised" names (rather than the Arabic ones which David Nicolle uses) - that is the periods that saw a revival in Muslim power across Spain and North Africa - but this is where the author probably had to make some painful choices related to size constraints.

Anyway, the most important points are whether this booklet delivers a decent overview or not and whether it makes you want to more. As far as I am concerned, the answer is a resounding yes in both cases. Right from the very beginning, when the introduction sets the scene very well, most, if not all, of the key points are made. There is one statement, however, that I am not quite sure about and this is "the ultimate advantage" that the Christian North of Spain are supposed to have held in terms of demographics over the Muslim South "with a relatively low population and rate of reproduction." It is a pity that the author did not elaborate a bit more on this but I guess this will give me the excuse to go looking for more on the subject, assuming I ever needed one, of course.

Finally, and to crown it all, there are Angus McBride's plate: superb and clear as usual. My favorite one is the "Andalusian Guard Cavalryman" from the 10th century who happens to be red-haired and is intended to illustrate the importance of Christian mercenaries in Andulasia, especially as guards. It is also a useful reminder of the fact that, for most of the period, Christian soldiers sought and found employment in Andalusian armies (and vice versa), regardless of religion considerations.

A good four star Men-at-Arms...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good research source 26 Nov. 2008
By Judson Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Osprey Publishing's books, although usually very succinct (this one is only 48 pages long, including the index), are almost invariably remarkably full of detailed information, and this volume is no exception. It makes an excellent starting point for research on the Moors in North Africa and Spain during the period listed in the title.
Very Insightful. 11 May 2015
By Emir McQuain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read about the Moors for a while, and haven't come across all this amazing information: beautiful pictures and LOTS of useful information.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
eh 14 Feb. 2014
By Netia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty pictures,not so much information. If you know allot about the moors already and you just wanted a refresher you'll like this book but if you're like me and wanted a book packed with information about the moors origin,adventures,and culture you'll be disappointed.
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