The Battle of
Seville (845 AD)

Andalusians vs. Vikings


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In 844, a Viking fleet pillaged Cadiz and then sailed up the Guadalquivir River, taking the unwalled port city of Seville (aka Roman Hispalis and Arabic Isbilya) by surprise on 31 July. The “Madjous” raiders took liberties, infamously killing a group of old men who had taken refuge in the main mosque (later renamed the Mosque of the Martyrs) and destroying other Moorish buildings. They settled in and commenced raiding throughout the region. After a year or so, Abd-Al-Rahman II dispatched a Moorish army from his capital at Cordoba to strike back. Details of the battle are sketchy…what is known is that the Vikings lost a 1000 killed and 400 men taken prisoner. The survivors were forced to take to their long boats and abandon the city. The 400 prisoners were later hanged. The Arab historian Ibn al-Quitiyan provides the only known account of the battle and its aftermath.

The Armies

  • Vikings (III/40a) (choose 2Ps option)
  • Anadalusian (III/34b)

Battle Map

The map is conjectural and assumes the battle was fought in proximity to the city.

Special Rules

  • Deployment: Vikings deploy first as defenders, then Moors as invaders. It is assumed that the Vikings were taken somewhat by surprise by the Moorish attack. To simulate this, roll 2D6. The result is the number of Viking elements that can deploy normally. The balance of Viking elements are held off board and deploy in the first bound like a littoral landing force entering the board along the baseline within the city of Seville.
  • Seville: At this point, Seville was an unwalled city and in considerable ruin. Disregard the normal BUA rules and treat the city as plain bad going equivalent to a wood.  It should be large enough to accomodate all 12 Viking elements.
  • Guadalquivir River:  The river is wide and envelops Seville on two sides (continuing off the game map parallel to the baseline).  For purposes of the game, treat the river as impassable terrain.
  • Olive Groves:  Treat as woods.
  • Camps:  The Andalusians deploy a camp normally.  The Vikings occupy Seville and therefore do not deploy a camp.  Their real logistical concern is protecting their longboats, are beached off-board in the bend of the Guadalquivir river adjacent to the city.  For each Andalusian element that moves through Seville and exits across the Viking baseline, the Vikings lose the equivalent of one logistical element toward the Victory conditions, up to a maximum of two.  In other words, moving two Andalusian elements off the Viking baseline to attack the boats has the same effect as capturing an enemy's camp.  The Andalusian element may not return to the board, but is not considered lost for purpose of the Victory conditions.

Victory Conditions

Normal DBA.

Fanatici Feedback

Robert (aka Timurlank):  This scenario posed some interesting problems. For the Andalusians with half their troops Ps their only strength lay with the spear and cavalry. The Vikings, even in difficult terrain, are not too disadvantaged unless they are flanked while engaged to their front. The addition of a pips throw to determine the starting strength of the Vikings is a nice touch, but in all three test games this did not hinder the Vikings too much from winning. In all three games, they could advance no further than 4-500 paces from Seville as most of their army were still en route, thus giving them interior lines.

As was stated, only the outcome of the battle was known and not the circumstances that lead to the victory over the Vikings. The expedition started with 100 ships that sailed from Loire and first raided the coast of Galicia and Asturias. After a setback they moved on to sack Lisbon in August finally arriving in Seville in October.

An addition to your scenario is to either include the initial conflict with the Galicians (Feudal Spanish III/35a) with the surviving Vikings finally meeting the Andalusians or modifying the Viking setup at Seville by reducing the number of elements to represent earlier losses. Another thought as the Andalusians have a scouting advantage, it is quite possible the Vikings were surprised while returning from an inland raid.

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Last Update:  8 July 2005

Comments and feedback welcome
and can be sent to Chris Brantley.