June 9th, 2009, 10:41 PM
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Thrones, Chapter III
A messenger was sent out from Toledo to al-Fihri and his army, comprising most of his loyal forces in Al-Andalus. Sent in the name of the former governor of Toledo, It informed him that Avidus (Abd ar-Rahman) had been captured while leading a personal scouting mission and was being held in Toledo. His army had splintered but could still regroup and so patrols had been redoubled to the north, east and west and he should make all speed to take the new king south wary but aware that he would be warned. Al-Fihri believed this and left his infantry behind, advancing north with a cavalry force of about 2000 men. Never the less he placed some scouts on his own to supplement those of Toledo.
Of the course the message was a trap. Avidus (ar-Rahman) was shown to al-Fihri and when al-Fihri and his personal guard arrived in Toledo to see the new king he instead captured them and put al-Fihri to death, gutting al-Fihri in half.
A short time later the body was presented to the cavalry detachment along with some unwelcome news--they were nearly surrounded on three sides. The Berber patrols from Toledo had of course found nothing, and the Christian forces that had "scattered" had in fact taken up positions to surround al-Fihri's army and were rapidly closing the ring. Several times a part of the cavalry force attempted to break out of the encirclement and they were repulsed several with some loss but these engagements cost neither side many men.
With reinforcements coming from the north and Toledo's own soldiers they numbered something around 3400 men both horse and foot and it was likely a concerted effort could win them free. This however, was not known to the commanders of the cavalry detachment, all they knew based on their own information was that they would be rapidly set on soon by a hostile force and their leader had just been killed in a rather nasty manner. Not knowing how close or even if the infantry forces would arrive (in reality upon hearing news of al-Fihri's death they would disperse and return home pillaging the countryside on the way) they surrendered.
To the horror of some, Avidus slew the Qaysite Arabs to the man. To the survivors, Avidus offered them a choice: swear to him and join him, or be deprived of their weapons and sent on their way home on the condition that they not support the Abbasids again. Their third option of course was death. Most took the opportunity to decamp for home and raise revolts of their own, but several mostly Yemeni arabs, went over to the king who was showing a good balance between Christians and Muslims but also favor among the various disaffected Muslim groups.
Avidus seizing the opportunity, moved south towards Cordoba the Abbasid capital. In Cordoba, panic seized the populace, and now leaderless they turned to a council of ministers and qadis to exercise governance and they decided to fight. Avidus offered battle to them south of the river Guadalquivir to induce them to abandon the town itself. The Cordobans accepted sending their own men north, an army of 3000 though perhaps less than a thousand men of worth (the others are conscript fodder).
The battle itself was vicious. The Cordobans had less professional men than the king, but they were highly motivated and their enemy had his back to the River, ensuring any retreat would turn into a massacre. King Avidus for his part had to worry about his new allies loyalty and constantly watched them for signs of treachery that might see him dead and a new ruler of al-Andalus emerge, keeping many of them out of the fight. Finally as the day began to darken, he himself rode into battle with his personal guard driving into the heart of the Cordoban forces. He drove them back a ways, but in the battle he was unhorsed. Fearing his death, his men began to waiver and fall back.
In desperation, Avidus (Abd ar-Rahman that is) threw off the white cloak he was wearing over his armor and tied it to a lance, raising it above the melee and calling his men to rally. Seeing their King alive and fighting put heart into his men and they rallied, driving the enemy from the field and leaving it strewn with bodies in what chroniclers could only a call a complete victory. In the aftermath, the cloak and lance became his personal banner and that of his heirs.
With the defeat of the Cordoban army, King Avidus Arman* I entered Cordoba in triumph at the close of the campaign season of 761 and began the process of establishing control over his newly gained lands.
*Abd Ar-Rahman can't keep his name quite that way as it means "Servant of God/Allah" as near as I can figure, so he took the crown in a Romanized form.
Iberian political situation and important settlements, start of 765:
Last edited by MNP; June 10th, 2009 at 12:46 AM..