The Almoravidian state was an African Empire in the true sense of the word, incorporating a large part of north-western and sub-Saharan west Africa, as well as a substantial part of the European mainland.


Almoravid cavalryman, early 12th centuryThe litham face-viel was the most striking aspect of Almoravid military costume. Otherwise this elite cavalryman’s weaponry and costum already show Moroccan and Andalusian influence, though his huge leather lamt shield is specifically Saharan – he has dropped this and his long spear when dismounting from his wounded horse.  The body armour consisting of felt is a hypothetical reconstruction based upon written descriptions and unclear illustrations.
moors Andalusian crossbowman – early 12th centuryA few features set this crossbowman apart from the infantry of Christian nothern Iberia, the most obvious being a rudimentary turnbancloth, the loose trousers beneath the mail hauberk, and the large shield with a distinctive keel down the centre.  This latter is probalby of leather.

Afro-Saharan archers 12th century

Recent archaeological studies shed light on the arms, armour and costume of medieval Africa. The most interesting features are what has been interpreted as a batered helmet of Islamic origin, a wickerwork quiver worn on his back, a large bow similar to those used in ancient Egypt, and the substantial dagger srapped to the left upper arm.