Why The Abbasid Caliphate Is A Missed Opportunity

there are lots of more interesting civs that come from this area that would make better launch material due to campaign potential. take the Umayyads, who were pivotal in the golden age of the Cordoba Caliphate and played major roles in the conquests of Persia, Rome, central Asia, northern Africa, and Iberia, and had at one point the strongest navy in the Middle Ages stretching unrivaled from the Mediterranean into the Indian ocean. or the Turks, who had major role throughout ad past the Middle Ages, whether it be the crusades, the roman campaigns, the Mongol invasions, and their central Asian/northern Indian dominance. Even the Fatimids would be better campaign wise, with their unique blend of Berber, Sudanese and Turkish troops and their major involvement in the crusades, allying with and enabling the first crusade to succeed through the constant captures/loss of Jerusalem and acting as the main opponents of the Suni Sultanates.

Meanwhile the Abbasids are one of the least interesting civs from the region, as they had essentially no territorial expansions and most of their conflicts where either border skirmishes or civil war. keep in mind that this is a dynasty that through incompetence and what can only be described as a shocking indifference to self-preservation not only lost all the territory they inherited in their revolution but had done so mostly through their own inability to govern rather than through outside influence.

they were essentially puppets under house arrest for almost all their reign, with no territorial accomplishments or campaign worthy events to speak off. the navy was left to rot, the army was purged of its most competent officials for fear of rebellion, then replaced with slave troops who rebelled anyway, and even in the Mongol campaign they were little more than a side note, with a minor engagement that was a crushing defeat before the capitol was sacked and any pretense to power removed. They spent most of their dynasty staving off sieges of their capitol from their vassals rather than having any sort of influence or projection of power, not exactly campaign worthy material.

they did have cultural and societal achievements, such as removing the ethnic and cultural restrictions of the previous Umayyad caliphate in favor of espousing racial equality and the egalitarian ideals of the earlier Rashidun caliphate, if only in lip service. and their patronage of the arts and sciences is well documented, along with the spread of paper making to the wider world. but age of empires as a series has always shied away from the dark side of human history, such as slavery and racism. And when your crowning achievements are emancipation, tax reforms and culture, and a complete failure at everything else related to running an empire, it is hard to think how they could be integrated into interesting campaigns. there is really nothing in the way of heroic defense or world-shaking conquests, and that is what makes it a shame they are included as a launch civilization.

And the main reasons you would include the Abbasids are not even in the game. While the culture/science aspect seems to be represented with the fictional house of wisdom, there is nothing we have seen so far that references their multicultural policies and tax reforms, which were the primary defining feature of the Abbasids and the driving force behind their revolution and continued existence/tolerance from the breakaway Suni states. Not even the unique units they had in history are represented, such as the naffatuns, instead we get fantasy units such as camel archers.


“complete failure at everything else related to running an empire”

And that’s where you as a player comes in. Maybe you can turn things around for them and rewrite that pitiful history. Achieve victories against foes, where their generals dissapointed you and lead them on a world shaking conquest against asian and european enemies.

As beautiful as it sounds, history is not set in stone for you in this game. You don’t have to follow their displeasing timeline and can rewrite that “shameful” history.

As a sidenote, maybe save your energy for gameplay problems or things, that can still be worked on and not ranting about things such as a civilization that is, unfortunately for you, already “set” in this game.

Or take a walk. Catch a breath of fresh air. :smiley:


I’m not sure what the point of your patronizing post is, I’m talking about the potential for future campaigns and your talking about rewriting history and how it isn’t set in stone. are we even writing about the same things?

and I have made plenty of posts about gameplay, you can click my name to read all about them.

why not take an esl class from your local library while you do so, the librarians are very nice and they will be happy to give you chocolate chip cookies if you behave.


Umayyads don’t fit in the game’s timeline


they definitely are, the golden age in Iberia was due to them as they escaped the Abbasids to what we call Spain.

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If they were so much better than the Abbasids, why were they running from them?


rather than get your information off an online game forum, I recommend reading about it. there’s a lot of interesting events that happen in history, you may enjoy reading more about it and coming to your own conclusions.

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In other words, you have no answer… Gotcha


Understand the point, but if not them, then who? If devs wanted to fill West Asia (and I think this was a point) Umayyads looks kinda out of place, same for every other north african/iberian nation. Other option was Turks, but again their states until Ottomans was maybe spectacular, but also short-lived, and we came hardly speak about any bigger cultural achievements. What’s more, I also think devs wanted to make arabic civ rather than turkic, they looks like a good material for DLC.


the Turks definitely have more campaign potential, they where far more involved with the Mongol invasions than the Abbasids, and where a primary opponents to the crusaders and the Eastern Roman Empire during the Abbasid caliphate. they also sieged the Abbasid caliphates capitol countless times during this games time period and defeated them in battle more than once despite technically being their vassals and drawing their legitimacy from them.

the Abbasids where not much of an Arabic civ after the first 100 years if their rule, and even in that time period they drew strength from Persian support, who where their most ardent supporters during their Revolution. the Abbasids may have had Arab blood, but it was Persian blood spelt in the battlefield that put them into power, and again helped decide the victor in their civil war after the death of Harun Al-Rashid.


it’s because of the campaign probably china mongols abbasids you see what i see? mongols didn’t encounter ummayads


Why do people constantly refer to the Ummayad presence in Iberia as the golden age of Iberia, when both the Portuguese Renaissance and the Spanish Siglo de Oro ended up completely eclipsing it?


The Abbasid’s had the benefit of having a golden age in technological/scientific development for Islam, you clearly don’t know history if you think otherwise, also related to the time period.

Now in addition to that, the Abbasid could also have hashashins as special units since they were pretty close.

Fatimid: Date dissolved: 1171
Umayyad Caliphate: 756–1031

All are much earlier.

“fictional house of wisdom”, it’s not fictional, it was a thing, it’s like saying the library of alexandria was fictional, just stop.

Plus the Abbasid aren’t just the Abbasid, it’s the Abbasid-mamluk sultanate civilization, a.k.a the civs that also fought the south western mongol horde (one lost and the latter one beat them).

Also regarding conquests, the Abbasid had plenty of history, from establishing puppet empires in the eastern Iran/Afghanistan region to conquests in China bringing them the ability to create paper for the masses thus starting the translation movement that saved countless ancient greek books.


the Abbasids had one battle with the Mongols outside of their city. in comparison, the turks had many more battles both before and after the Abbasids fell to them, and it was a Turkish state with Turkish troops that defeated them in large battles as the Mamelukes.

who argued that?

the Hashashins killed the Abbasid caliphs and were there sworn enemies, they would fit better as a Fatamid unique unit.

both are part of the current timeline, and the Fatimids disappeared just 90 years before the Abbasids and had far more campaign material. they had actual conquests and defenses and real international influence while the Abbasids were prisoners in their own capitol. the Abbasids past 950 were essentially a city state and had no projection of power. There are dukes in Poland that wielded more authority, conquered more territory, had greater international influence and commanded more troops than the combined total of multiple Abbasid caliphs at this point.

the Umayyads started from 661, and likewise had far more campaign worthy events than the Abbasids even if their reign ended roughly 200 years earlier.

one was a city state in Iraq that spent the last 300 years being routinely besieged by its vassals, the other was an order of slave soldiers in Egypt who seized power. the mamelukes make more sense as a Fatimid successor, with similar army compositions and locations. the mamelukes never retook Baghdad, which was the only possession of the Abbasids for most of their existence as a (nominally) independent authority.

like Abbasid camel archers, prove its existence. however I’m fine with its use as a gameplay device to represent the cultural aspect of the civ and I’m interested in seeing it play out in game.

Talas was a single battle a year after their revolution, so how do we make a campaign from it? where is the proof of an Abbasid army campaigning in Afghanistan? exactly where does one get campaign material from the Abbasids that isn’t just “survive the 28th siege of your capital from your vassals”.

there are multiple reasons. one is that they are after the middle ages rather than a large part of it, we are talking several hundred years apart. this is worse than comparing the literacy rate of the 13 colonies and arguing ww2 literacy rates were significantly higher, or comparing the time it took Columbus to reach the new world to an 18th century steamboat. we are talking a nearly 500 year difference, of course we don’t compare them.

the second was this thing called the Inquisition, and that they somehow managed to accomplish it without treasure fleets pillaging enslaved peoples and hauling their resources back home.

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Instead of having 2 camel units and imam, they could’ve had at least 1 camel unit, naffatun, and hashashin

“Prove it’s existence”

I’m gonna stop at there, you’re ignoring literal countless historic works that happened there, historic accounts of it existing, etc.

It’s like if I said, “prove the library of Alexandria existed”… complete nonsense, gonna label you as a troll and move on.


there is no hard evidence of its existence. your free to feel otherwise.

as I have said, I don’t mind its inclusion in the game, but if you want to label me a troll for wanting more evidence that something exists go ahead.

you also haven’t given me more information on this Abbasid invasion of Afghanistan, or any campaigns against china. just a mention of the battle of talas, a single border clash whose consequence of papermaking I already noted. if you have any proof or record of conquests by the Abbasids, please share it.

You’re quoting a blog… yep, I’m done here.


second sentence, university of Delhi.

“The House of Wisdom is the subject of an active dispute over its functions and existence as a formal academy, an issue complicated by a lack of physical evidence following the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate and a reliance on corroboration of literary sources to construct a narrative.”

you are arguing a minor point over the contested existence of a building which I don’t mind being included in the game, in a post about potential campaign material. if you want to believe it exists, go ahead. you may be right, there isn’t enough evidence to be sure. if it makes you feel any better, I hope it existed too.

if you believe there is campaign worthy material for the Abbasids, I’m interested in hearing it. or you can leave safely in the knowledge that you have proven the house of wisdom exists once and for all, that’s ok too.

Are you alright? What do you define as hard evidence? Archaeological evidence? No need to, since it’s documented even by orientalists. The battle of Hattin has no archaeological evidence for its existence, yet both sides talked about it, including the historians of its time.