Before the spread of Islam and the Arabic language, the term "Arab" referred to any of the nomadic residents of the Arabian Peninsula. When used in a modern context, "Arab" refers to any of the Arabic-speaking peoples who reside on the Atlantic Coast of Africa, Southwestern Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, and Iraq. The earliest nomadic inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula herded their sheep, goats, and camels through an unforgiving desert environment; while those Arabs who settled in the oases provided date and cereal agriculture as trade staples for Arab caravans that transported spices, ivory, and gold from southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa to the civilizations farther north.
During the 7th century AD, Muhammad emerged as the prophet for the religion of Islam, which was widely adopted by the Arab community. Islam unified the Bedouins and the town-dwellers of the oases, and within a century, spread throughout most of the present day Arab-speaking world. The newfound social organization that followed Islam offered new possibilities for the Arabs as agricultural production and intercity trading, particularly in luxury goods, saw significant increases. Gradually, the triad of temple, court, and market formed, as well as a standardized style of writing for laws and other texts. New institutions also emerged, including: coinage, territorial deities, royal priesthoods, and standing armies, which further enhanced Arab power. Adherence to the religion of Islam has become a global phenomenon. Muslims predominate in approximately 30 to 40 countries, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and along a belt that stretches across northern Africa into Central Asia and the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent. Despite the absence of any large-scale Islamic political entities, the Islamic faith continues to expand, by some estimates faster than any other major religion.
By proclaiming his message publicly, Muhammad gained followers. Abu Bakr is noted as being the first male convert to Islam and also as Muhammad's closest companion and advisor. At the point of Muhammad's death, on June 8, 632 AD Muslims resolved the crisis of succession by accepting Abu Bakr as the first Caliph. In his rule as Caliph, Abu Bakr suppressed tribal, political, and religious uprisings, known as the Rida Wars, and brought central Arabia under Muslim control. These wars caused high casualties among the Islamic community, but through them, Abu Bakr not only ensured the survival of Islam, but also established himself as the undisputed leader of the entire Arabian Peninsula. By undertaking direct expansion from Arabia into Iraq and Syria, he began the Muslim conquests otherwise known as 'Jihad'. Aside from Iraq and Syria these conquests penetrated regions including Anatolia, Nubia, Libya, and Iran. While early Muslim forces consisted of very few soldiers, it's understood that they retained higher morale and mobility than their enemies, as well as the luxury to retreat into the desert where they alone knew the location of water and grazing land. The one military unit that was present in nearly all of the Arabic expansion of the 7th to 9th centuries was the Ansar Warrior. These warriors participated as infantry, but most commonly rode on horseback. The quality of the Arabian horses quickly led to these soldiers dominating the battlefield, making ample use of their array of weaponry, which consisted of javelins, a sword, as well as bow and arrows. Jihad is the only type of war legitimized by Islam, yet the word itself is still misunderstood by Westerners. 'Holy War' is the often-used misleading translation of Jihad, which in fact is meant to consist of an individual's or a communal 'struggle' against evil, within one's self, and in order to protect Islam, but never as a tool for conversion.
Traditional Arab values have since been modified in the 20th century through the combined pressures of urbanization, industrialization, and Western influences. While urban Arabs still tend to identify themselves more by nationality than by tribe, village farmers revere the pastoral nomad's romantic way of life and claim a kinship with the great desert tribes of the past. As heirs to the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Hebrews, even to the Greeks and Indians, the societies created by Muslims bridge time and space. The original Arab tribes in less than 20 years after Muhammad's death defeated the Byzantine and Persian empires, occupied a vast territory from Libya to Persia, and then developed into the Arab, or Islamic, Empire known today.
In Civilization III: Play the World, the Arabs are considered an Religious and Expansionistic civilization, therefore, they start with Pottery and Ceremonial Burial and have significant bonuses to exploratory and cultural activities.
Unique Unit: the Ansar WarriorEdit
While early Muslim forces consisted of very few soldiers, it's understood that they retained higher morale and mobility than their enemies, as well as the luxury to retreat into the desert where they alone knew the location of water and grazing land. The one military unit that was present in nearly all of the Arabic expansion of the 7th to 9th centuries was the Ansar Warrior. Directly translated as "Helper of Muhammad", these warriors participated as infantry, but most commonly rode on horseback. The quality of the Arabian horses quickly led to these soldiers dominating the battlefield, making ample use of their array of weaponry, which consisted of javelins, a sword, as well as bow and arrows.
An Arab city must have Horses and Iron to build an Ansar Warrior. They replace the knight and are much faster.
Attack: 4 Defense: 2 (Knight has 3) Moves: 3 (Knight has 2) Shield Cost: 60 (Knight has 70)
- Bayt Ras
- Ziyad Ibn Abihi