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Daylami Tribesman

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath

The Daylamis were a rough mountain people of the Caspian region. During this period they served as mercenaries with the Sassanids, Samanids, Buyids (themselves a Daylami dynasty), Fatimids, Saftarids and Ghaznavids, and later with the Seljuks until the end of the 12th century.

They fought mainly as infantry though they used mules or camels for transport and the wealthiest rode horses. Their cavalry were supplied chiefly by Turkish mercenaries and ghulams.

Their standard arms consisted of sword, brightly painted shield and zupin, the latter a short javelin used for thrusting or throwing.

Contemporary descriptions of the zupin are usually translated as '2-bladed' or '2-pronged', but the impracticalities of such a weapon make this seem unlikely; more probably '2-edged' is intended. In addition Daylamis often used axes, and bows are recorded as well as a crossbow called a nawak, mentioned in 9th-11th century sources.

Daylamī by David Nicolle, extracts from 'The military technology of classical Islam'
A painting of a Daylami Infantryman, early 11th century, by Angus McBride.
Deylamites at Encyclopędia Iranica
Next: 107.KHORASANIAN HORSE-ARCHER in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath