Arabia's portrayal in Civ VII

FishFishFish

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Arabia’s portrayal in Civ VI has peeved me for a long time. Firstly the choice of Saladin, while I do not necessarily think Saladin is a bad choice for Arabia (although I’d rather see an actual Arabian Caliph instead), his focus on science despite being the leader during the turbulence of the crusades is extremely bizarre to me. (If they wanted Arabia to be a science focused civilization they should have chosen an Abbasid Caliph in order to represent the Islamic Golden age instead in my opinion.)

Secondly Arabia is a huge blob civ. In civilization V we received the Moroccans which helped mitigate this somewhat, but now we are just stuck with Arabia. This is troublesome to me because "Arab" describes a massive amount of different people.

In Civilization VII I would like to see Arabia split up into multiple civilizations, such as the following:
  1. A civilization that represents the first 3 caliphates (Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid). Preferably a Umayyad caliph leading this time around since we have never gotten one before.

  2. A Sunni based civilization located in the Maghreb and Iberia.

  3. An Omani civilization with a strong maritime focus.

  4. The Fatimid Caliphate (I feel like the Fatimids are distinct enough from the previous caliphates to warrant being their own civilization).
This also has the added benefit of representing three sects of Islam.
 
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Zaarin

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I am somewhat more okay with the Arabian blob compared to other blobs simply because the Islamic Arabs were very successful at creating a remarkably cohesive culture across the Middle East. However, I 100% agree with your assessment of Saladin: it's like they wanted Harun ar-Rashid again but decided to call him Saladin because...reasons. Regarding your proposals, I'd rather have a caliph from Cordóba, unlikely though that is, over an Umayyad leader of Arabia, and for Shi'a representation I'd prefer Safavid Iran (though it seems that we will always have Achaemenid Persia and no more--I'd like to see Sassanid Persia/Safavid Iran* instead, but alas).

*I'm aware the names Persia/Iran are equivalent and of equal antiquity. But it would be very inconvenient to have two civs named the same thing so calling the pre-Islamic civ "Persia" and the post-Islamic civ "Iran" is simply a matter of convenience.
 
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I wouldn't mind having Saladin back again, along with Harun-Al-Rashid, for differentiating gameplay.

The civ ability would obviously focus around religion.
Saladin could focus around warfare and come with a Mamluk UU.
Harun could focus around science and culture and come with a House of Wisdom UB.

The Civ UU could be some sort of Camel unit and the unique infrastructure Madrasah again (but with more faith bonuses than science)
 

Zaarin

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Harun could focus around science and culture and come with a House of Wisdom UB.
I would love to see Harun ar-Rashid or another Abbasid caliph get a Science/Culture bonus from having minority religions in his empire. Part of what made the Abbasid court so vibrant was scholars from everywhere--Jews, Syriac and Coptic Miaphysite Christians, Persian Zoroastrians, and above all Persian and Syriac Nestorian Christians with their rich hoards of Classical scrolls translated into Syriac. (Fun fact: when the West first encountered Classical learning in the late Middle Ages, it was in Arabic libraries which in turn had mostly been translated from Syriac from the troves of the Church of the East. There's some delicious irony in the fact that the Western Church owed its Renaissance to the Nestorians that it so utterly despised.) The Abbasids even had guests from as far away as India.
 
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Moving on from an Arabia-as-perceived-threat-to-the-West model would be a nice step forward.

Having an Umayyad-in-Córdoba in the base game--deeply satisfying. It's almost a shame we got Portugal without Córdoba as the culturally rich syncretic state it was.

If we then had Safavid Iran and, for instance, Mamluk Egypt, we could have a nice spectrum in terms of chronology and strategic orientations.

Edits: Corrected accents.
 
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Zaarin

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Moving on from an Arabia-as-perceived-threat-to-the-West model would be a nice step forward.

Having an Umayyad-in-Cordóba in the base game--deeply satisfying. It's almost a shame we got Portugal without Cordóba as the culturally rich syncretic state it was.

If we then had Safavid Iran and, for instance, Mamluk Egypt, we could have a nice spectrum in terms of chronology and strategic orientations.
And that leaves the central Middle East conveniently open for a Palmyrene, Nabataean, or Ghassanid civ. :mischief:
 
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Having an Umayyad-in-Cordóba in the base game--deeply satisfying. It's almost a shame we got Portugal without Cordóba as the culturally rich syncretic state it was.
I think if we got a Ummayad leader they would probably make the capital Damascus.

And that leaves the central Middle East conveniently open for a Palmyrene, Nabataean, or Ghassanid civ. :mischief:
Or being able to have Assyria, Babylon, and Sumer. :p
 
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I think if we got a Ummayad leader they would probably make the capital Damascus.

Agreed, and as has been mentioned above, Damascus hasn't exactly received proper recognition for its achievements either. That said, I would find it typical and disappointing should Iberia continue to be represented as Rome-Spain-Portugal, though Phoenicia fits in as an honorable mention.
 

FishFishFish

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While the Caliphate of Córdoba was officially known as the "Second Umayyad Caliphate", it would be a bit strange to call them the "Umayyads" in game. It would be kind of like naming Byzantium "Rome".

Thus if they make a civilization based on the Second Umayyad Caliphate, they should probably be named the Caliphate of Córdoba instead.
 
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Zaarin

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Or being able to have Assyria, Babylon, and Sumer. :p
This may be astonishing coming from me of all people, but there are other Ancient Near Eastern civs I'd much rather have than all three of the Big Three Mesopotamian civs. Ideally I'd like to have Assyria and one of Babylon or Sumer--strongly preferring Babylon if we can't ditch Gilgamesh. :p After that, I'd prefer to have one of the Mesopotamian satellite civs: Elam, Hurria/Mitanni, Urartu, Hittites, etc. The latter three will hopefully be crowded out by Armenia, making Elam my first choice.

While the Caliphate of Córdoba was officially known as the "Second Umayyad Caliphate", it would be a bit strange to call them the "Umayyads" in game. It would be kind of like naming Byzantium "Rome".

Thus if they make a civilization based on the Second Umayyad Caliphate, they should probably be named the Caliphate of Córdoba instead.
Yes, I expect ʿAbd ar-Raḥman's civ would be called al-Andalus or Córdoba, not Umayyads. I suspect that, if anything, we'd be more likely to get the Almohads as North African representation given how crowded Iberia already is, though. (That would be rather disappointing, though, as the Almoravids and Almohads basically undid the culture of tolerance, scholarship, and arts that the Emirate and Caliphate of Córdoba cultivated. I'd rather see some other kind of Berber representation for North Africa myself.)
 

Phrozen

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Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan would be a good leader. It was under him that the Arabian caliphate was actually consolidated into an empire and centralized rather than a collection of warlords and tribes that somewhat pulled in the same direction if they could be cajoled that way but fought each other often.
 
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While the Caliphate of Córdoba was officially known as the "Second Umayyad Caliphate", it would be a bit strange to call them the "Umayyads" in game. It would be kind of like naming Byzantium "Rome".

Thus if they make a civilization based on the Second Umayyad Caliphate, they should probably be named the Caliphate of Córdoba instead.

I will be the first to admit it would be very strange if the Caliphate of Córdoba were the sole Islamic civilization in the base game. It would be a bit like if the only European civilizations were Portugal, Belgium, Burgundy, and Hungary. To that extent, a mix of core and peripheral or even Caliphate of Córdoba and Safavid Iran might do the trick.
 

BuchiTaton

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Abd Al-Malik for an Arabian civ that can expand while build a strong administration and culture.

Again I think the key is how to distribute designs between civs. For example Gurkani are also muslim and had some examples of sponsorship science and religious/cultural dialogue. While either Babylon or Assyria could be scientific like a Baghdad arab civ, so is kind of redundant.

Arabia could be the civ that gain science from each conquered city (representing the preservation of previous works) then gain gold from different culture population (minorities tax) with the option to easy cultural/religious conversion from their UB.

We should not just close the eyes to the arabic expansion as one of the most impresive and with profound consequences to peoples culture.
 

Zaarin

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While either Babylon or Assyria could be scientific like a Baghdad arab civ, so is kind of redundant.
Assyria's a bad candidate for science IMO. They did preserve a lot of Babylonian and Sumerian science in their libraries, but they did virtually nothing to add to it. I'm still pushing for a cultural/wonder-building Assyria because Assyrian cities like Ashur, Nineveh, and Dur-Sharrukin were the pearls of the ancient world.
 

FishFishFish

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Abd Al-Malik for an Arabian civ that can expand while build a strong administration and culture.

Tbh Arabia has a lot of good leader options. I think they should try to avoid repeating leaders when ever possible. I'll list a couple of new comers I'd like to see off the top of my head.

For the Umayyads:

As you mentioned, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan would be the obvious choice for a Umayyad Caliph. His son and predecessor Al-Walid I would also be a good choice as he continued much of his father's policies and lead the Umayyads during the peak of their territorial expansion.

Umar II - He made several reforms during his short reign such as granting equality for all Muslims regardless of their ethnicity. He is regarded as the most pious of the Umayyad Caliphs, is often called the first Mujaddid (A mujaddid, in Islam is one who brings "renewal" to the religion) and is generally beloved by both Sunnis and Shias.

For the Abbasids:

Al-Mansur - He would probably be the best replacement for Harun Al-Rashid. He built the Madinat al-Salam and stabilized the caliphate after the Abbasid Revolution.

Al-Mutawakkil - Al-Mutawakkil was unlike previous Abbasid caliphs because he was not known for having a thirst for knowledge, but he had an eye for magnificence and a hunger to build. The Great Mosque of Samarra and 20 palaces were constructed under his reign so I could see him leading a wonder focused Arabia. Also he lead the Abbasids during their territorial height too.

Al-Muʿtamid ʿalā ’llāh and Al-Muʿtaḍid bi-'llāh - Their reigns marked the period known as the Abbasid revival after the devastating Anarchy at Samarra. Despite being known for their cruelty against religious minorities, they renewed sponsorship of scholars and scientists. Without their prosperous reigns the Caliphate would have succumbed to revolts much sooner.
 
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Evie

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Assyria's a bad candidate for science IMO. They did preserve a lot of Babylonian and Sumerian science in their libraries, but they did virtually nothing to add to it. I'm still pushing for a cultural/wonder-building Assyria because Assyrian cities like Ashur, Nineveh, and Dur-Sharrukin were the pearls of the ancient world.

Sounds like Assyria should almost be a remix of Civ II's Great Library and Civ VI's Babylon.

UA: "Automatically gain any technology known to at least two civilizations you have contact with. -50% science production."
LA: Hammurabi's, with an additional "each specialty district in a city grants a bonus to wonder production" (since the Civ UA is now significantly powered down).

Would give you a pretty solid "city builder with strong cultural side who preserves other people's science a lot but doesn't really create its own" design.
 

Zaarin

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Sounds like Assyria should almost be a remix of Civ II's Great Library and Civ VI's Babylon.

UA: "Automatically gain any technology known to at least two civilizations you have contact with. -50% science production."
LA: Hammurabi's, with an additional "each specialty district in a city grants a bonus to wonder production" (since the Civ UA is now significantly powered down).

Would give you a pretty solid "city builder with strong cultural side who preserves other people's science a lot but doesn't really create its own" design.
That would be a great design, and it would suit virtually any of Tiglath-Pileser III or the Sargonids.
 

Henri Christophe

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While the Caliphate of Córdoba was officially known as the "Second Umayyad Caliphate", it would be a bit strange to call them the "Umayyads" in game. It would be kind of like naming Byzantium "Rome".

Thus if they make a civilization based on the Second Umayyad Caliphate, they should probably be named the Caliphate of Córdoba instead.
I think it's better be called Andalusia or Al-Andalus.
And I also believe it should be a very good choice Abderramán I to lead Al-Andalus.
And I don't believe the iberic peninsula is so full it can't have a muslim civ.
 

Henri Christophe

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Candid yet likely unpopular: Who would support a Spain-Portugal-Andalusia rotation for Iberia?
I support this idea, maybe CIv 7 can starts with Andalusia in vanila edition and maybe don't even have Spain in a late DLC.
 
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