The Arabian civilization ability is The Last Prophet, which automatically grants Arabia the final Great Prophet when the next-to-last one is claimed (if they have not already earned one) and provides a +1 Science bonus per foreign city following their religion. Their unique unit is the Mamluk (which replaces the Knight), and their unique building is the Madrasa (which replaces the University).
Starting bias: None
Religion and Science are brought together in a perfect union when playing as Arabia. With great Science output from not only their worship building and followers in other civilizations, but early Madrasas as well, they are well-equipped for a Science Victory, with Religious and Domination Victory as good backups.
The Last Prophet
Automatically receive a free Great Prophet
Every other religious civilizations in the game, the early game is absolutely crucial, since they have to forgo other priorities in order to found a religion. This is not the case with Arabia, since they are guaranteed to be able to found a religion every single game. Whenever the penultimate Great Prophet is claimed, Arabia is automatically granted the last one if they haven't received one yet. However, there are a few problems to consider when it comes to this ability, as you may not want to rely too much on it every game:
- Being able to found the last religion means all good beliefs may be completely gone. There is no doubt that there are very strong beliefs that will most likely get picked up by the first or second religion. When it comes to the last one, basically you are choosing beliefs from a pool of things that no one truly wants.
- On larger maps with many players, there exists a chance that the penultimate Great Prophet is never claimed or claimed very late into the game, since there are some civilizations who do not have a religious incentive to build Holy Sites. This means in certain games, you have to build Holy Sites and try to earn a Great Prophet the normal way anyway and still end up with a pool of less-than-desirable beliefs to choose from.
- If a religious victory is what you are pursuing, you should know this type of victory is quite a limited window of opportunity. The later you found your religion, the more likely every empire around you either has a religion of their own or already adopts one from someone else. It is a lot easier to convert a pagan city than to convert a city away from its existing religion, especially when you compare the Faith cost of purchasing Missionaries and Apostles.
All in all, this ability makes your earlier game a little bit more relaxed than other religious civilizations, you don't have to drop everything trying to found a religion, since you are guaranteed one (even though a weak religion with underwhelming beliefs is almost guaranteed if you play the game with religion the dead last priority) but by no means you should completely delay the construction of Holy Sites for eras. Almost all of Arabia's bonuses (except for the Mamluk) relies on the fact you have a religion and they are available very early on without significant scaling into late game; therefore by delaying religions, you are delaying your own potential. Use it ability wisely as the last resort only.
Bonus Science from foreign cities following Arabia's religion
This ability is one of those that it doesn't hurt that it is there, since it is attached to an action you would want to do regardless (spreading your religion to other empires), but it is not by any means significant enough to make an impact. 1 Science per foreign city is very small, considering the amount of Faith expended to convert those cities, but it can go well with Cross-Cultural Dialogue belief. Again, since this ability is already quite insignificant and without any scaling potential, an early religion is required as soon as possible, which is very antisynergistic with the first aspect of this ability.
Righteousness Of The Faith
Unlike most other civilizations, Arabia under Saladin should place a heavy emphasis on worship buildings. Of course, you still shouldn't pick a Worship belief with your Follower belief when founding your religion, because you cannot build them without Temples anyway. However, right after founding your religion, thus triggering the Inspiration for Theology, that is the civic you should beeline. Theology not only unlocks your unique building, but also the Temple and the Mahabodhi Temple, allowing you to evangelize your religion and build worship buildings. This is because they can and should purchase it for essentially nothing at all in every city with a Holy Site. Picking an early Worship Belief also gives you the pick of the lot, giving you the freedom to choose what you truly want, like the Wat or the Meeting House (if going for a science victory), or even the Mosque (if going for a religious victory).
All worship buildings have the production cost of 190 Production and alternatively, they can be purchased with 380 Faith. Arabian worship buildings can always be purchased with a whopping 90% discount in Faith (38 Faith), and will be totally free if Theocracy is the chosen government. That means every worship building will pay for itself in just 13 turns, and that doesn't even take into account its secondary effect. Every city of yours that has this incredibly cheap building in it gets a massive boost to its Science, Faith, and Culture. +10% Science is already half what the powerful Oxford University does, and the additional yields to Faith and Culture make the Holy Site with a worship building a must in every city. If following this strategy, consider picking Jesuit Education as a follower belief. While they won't be discounted like Holy Site buildings, you should have ample Faith production to easily buy Campus and Theater Square district buildings, allowing your Production to focus elsewhere (although it is worth noting that Jesuit Education is a highly contested belief, so if you are just going to rely on your civilization ability to earn a Great Prophet, you most likely won't get this belief).
Keep in mind that while other empires do not benefit from the 10% Faith, Culture and Science, they do receive the 90% discount if your religion is ever spread to their cities. Considering that civilizations that love building Holy Sites are most likely religious civilizations who can contest you on the path to a religious victory, spread your religion to them with discretion, or else you will hand over to your enemies a lot of cheap Faith. If you are going for a religious victory, save these religious civilizations for last.
The Dark Age policy card Monasticism can be incredibly powerful with Arabia, if you manage to get into a Dark Age. The downside of this card can be alleviated partially by the leader ability, and an extra 75% Science in every city with a Holy Site (which is pretty much every city in your empire) can be a deciding factor to help you accelerate toward that science victory.
The most outstanding factor of the Madrasa is that it unlocks with Theology (a Classical civic) instead of Education (a Medieval technology). Just the fact that Education is a difficult technology to beeline while the path to Theology is short and straightforward (and Arabia is guaranteed to be able to trigger its Inspiration) means Arabia can start constructing this building a lot earlier than other civilizations with their regular University. However, since the Madrasa is not any cheaper than the University, being able to build multiple Madrasas right after it is unlocked is a hard task, so you should combine the construction with Magnus and some Woods chopping. Consider going straight for Theology after researching Political Philosophy (for tier 1 governments), and maybe Military Tradition (for Maneuver to build Heavy Chariots and upgrade them into Mamluks later).
Compared to the University, the Madrasa provides an additional Science and some Faith depending on the adjacency bonus of the Campus it is in. The extra point of Science does not sound like much on its own but when combined with the fact that you unlock this building long before others get theirs, it becomes quite significant. The extra Faith is obviously a nice boost to Arabia as a whole, and is especially synergistic with Saladin's bonuses to both Faith and Science.
In battle, thanks to its superior movement and healing ability, an army of 4-5 Mamluks can be extremely difficult to deal with since they can alternate between attacking and healing. At the end of every turn, regardless of whether the unit moves or attacks that turn or not, it will heal 10 HP. This amount applies to all circumstances, meaning even if it Fortifies Until Healed, it still only regenerates 10 HP per turn without stacking the healing effect with the action and it still heals 10 HP instead of 5 when healing inside enemy's territory. Of course, if it Fortifies Until Healed inside friendly territory or inside a City Center, since the action regenerates more HP, the healing amount from this action will supersede its innate ability.
In Gathering Storm, the overall landscape of the game has changed so much that the Mamluk seems to lose its dominance in Medieval Era warfare despite receiving no direct changes. Knights are now more expensive to build and maintain and Mamluks now also require Iron to train, which greatly limits the Mamluk rush since Arabia does not have an incentive to build early Encampments to raise their stockpile cap. The most important difference between the regular Knight and the Mamluk is that unlike the Knight it replaces, the Mamluk still upgrades to the Tank instead of the Cuirassier, so Arabia will have a wide gap of vulnerability when the Industrial Era rolls around. Your Mamluks cannot protect you too well in this time period as they cannot compete with Cuirassiers, their superiors, and the Industrial Era is a crucial time to build up your infrastructure; since Coal, Factories, Coal Power Plants and Ruhr Valley are unlocked here, Arabia is forced to invest in other unit lines as well, most likely light cavalry.
Arabia under Saladin is a very versatile civ. It has a bonus towards Domination Victory, via the Mamluk; it has a bonus towards Religious Victory, via "Righteousness of the Faith"; and it has three bonuses towards Scientific Victory, via "The Last Prophet", "Righteousness of the Faith", and the Madrasa. It just doesn't have any Tourism bonuses, and might not be as good for a Cultural Victory.
Arabia's religious and scientific strengths go hand in hand, which is to say that by going for one you propel yourself toward the other as well. This is similar to how Canada interweaves Culture and Diplomatic Victory, or how the Khmer can go for a Culture and Religious Victory. Domination, however, rides totally on the Mamluk, which, while an incredibly strong unit, will not carry you by itself. If you seek world conquest, it is worthwhile to build up your infrastructure around producing units as well. And if this is your plan, make sure to target other civilizations with religions first and foremost- the more you can spread your religion and worship building without resistance, the better.
Arabia is guaranteed to have a religion every game, but if you are over-reliant on this ability, they will only have the last pick of beliefs. Hence, if you know they are in your game, you can tailor your religion so that you can deny the beliefs you know they may want, like Jesuit Education follower belief, or Wat and Meeting House worship belief. These are the strong beliefs that any civilization can take advantage of, so don't think of it as going out of your way just to counter Arabia. Arabia's Science bonus is tied to the number of foreign cities with their religion, regardless of the size of those cities, so they benefit more from converting a lot of small cities. You can use Inquisitors, or simply convert these cities away from Arabia's religion, or even wage a war to condemn their religious units if you feel they are inching toward a religious victory. Saladin's leader ability is one that can be played to the benefit of other civilizations. You can let him convert cities that have Holy Sites to be able to buy worship buildings at a cheap cost, and then convert those cities away from his religion to deny him the Science bonus together with any extra bonus provided by his founder belief.
A few months after his farewell pilgrimage – thereby laying the foundation for the Hajj – the Prophet Muhammed at the age of 62 fell ill and died in Medina in June 632 AD. According to Sunni writ, his followers chose Abu Bakr Siddique as Amir al-Mu’minin (“Commander of the Faithful”), Muhammed’s successor and first of the Rashidun caliphs. Shi’a Muslims hold, instead, that Ali, son-in-law and cousin to the Prophet, was Muhammed’s own selection as his spiritual and temporal successor, thus setting off a schism that continues today.
Under Abu Bakr and three able successors, ruling from Medina, the warriors of Islam – fired by the Prophet’s vision – swept across the deserts and plains in all directions, overrunning Persia, Syria, Egypt and much of Anatolia and the North African coast. In the period 650 to 655, they added the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes and a large portion of Sicily, and were knocking at the door of the Byzantine Empire. In 655, the Byzantine emperor Constans II personally led a fleet against the Arabic onslaught, only to lose some 500 ships and barely escape himself. At its peak, the Rashidun caliphate was the largest empire to date.
Under this first Arabic caliphate, the conquered were treated benevolently, more or less, according to the teachings of Muhammed. Monotheists (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and the like) among the defeated were given the choice to convert, and accorded all the rights and protections (and duties, of course), should they do so, of Islamic citizens. Non-Muslims were allowed to continue to practice their faiths, and given legal rights according to their scripture save where these conflicted with the Qur'an. It was a relatively tolerant doctrine, and it would serve the Arabic caliphates well over the following centuries.
The administration of the Dar al-Islamiyyah (“House of Islam”) was also the Will of Allah, as laid down by Muhammed. Under Caliph Umar, the second to take on the duties of amir of all Arabia, the expanding empire was divided into twelve provinces, each with its own Wali to handle the daily grind of ruling; each province also had appointed six other officials, ranging from the Sahib-ul-Kharaj (Revenue Collector) to the Qadi (Chief Judge). Umar set up strict codes of conduct, with horrendous punishments for violation, and each official was to make the Hajj to Mecca each year, there to answer any complaints brought against them by anyone. To lessen corruption and abuse of power, the caliph made it a point of law to pay officials high salaries. Umar got himself assassinated by Persian fanatics, but his policies for administering the sprawling empire would remain in place for centuries.
Following the assassination of the third caliph Uthman in 656 AD, Ali – that one the Shi’a supported – was chosen as the next. But Mu’awiya, a kinsman of Uthman and governor of Syria, backed by the Sunnis, cried for revenge against the assassins based in the city of Basra, a vengeance Ali denied, as Muslim was not to make war on Muslim. In the first Islamic civil war – a three-sided affair between Ali, Mu’awiya and the Kharijites – the caliph slowly lost most of his territory to Mu’awiya. Then Ali was himself assassinated in 661 by the Kharijites in an elaborate plot to kill off all the Islamic leaders. Unfortunately for the Kharijites, they failed to knock off Mu’awiya. After an agreement with Ali’s surviving son, Mu’awiya gained the caliphate, founded the Umayyad dynasty, and proceeded to squash the Kharijites.
The Umayyads didn’t last long, less than a hundred years. But they managed to overrun everything in sight save the Byzantines. From their capital in Damascus, able Umayyad caliphs such as ibn Marwan (685-705) and Sulayman (715-717) spread the banner of Islam over the Caucasus, the Maghreb, Sind on the Indian subcontinent, Al-Andalus (Iberia), Samarkand, Transoxiana, Khwarezm, etc. In the process, they built the fifth largest empire ever to exist in the history of civilization.
And they left an indelible mark on civilization itself, being both warriors and builders. Abd ibn Marwan, for instance, made Arabic the official language of the empire, standardized Islamic currency, organized a postal system, repaired the Kaaba in Mecca, and – just to top things off – built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The architecture continued under his successors; his son built the Al-Aqsa Mosque opposite the Dome of the Rock, the Great Mosque of Damascus, and constructed a whole bunch of roads, dug wells, and cut passes through the mountains – primarily to help his armies but of benefit to the average people as well. Under all the Umayyads, religious tolerance was the order of the day; Christians and Jews held important posts, and the Umayyads fought the Byzantines without concern for the still largely Christian province of Syria to their rear.
But there was no end to trouble in paradise. Two civil wars and the Berber Revolt of 740-743 weakened the Umayyads; likely the near constant state of war on all its borders the caliphate engaged in didn’t help. The treasury was drained, both by war and by all the welfare programs instituted by the caliphs to follow Muhammed’s pronouncements about generosity towards the poor. Eventually, the Hashimiyya, an offshoot of the Shi’a movement, led by the Abbasid tribe moved against the caliph in 747. In January 750, at the Battle of the Zab, the two families and their assembled allies met. The Umayyads were decisively defeated; Damascus fell to the Abbasids in April and the last Umayyad caliph was killed in Egypt in August. The surviving (not many) Umayyads fled across North Africa to Iberia, where they established the Caliphate of Cordoba (which lasted until 1031).
Now it was the Abbasids’ turn to rule the sprawling Arabian lands, and they did so well. So much so that the al-Khilafah al-‘Abbasiyah encompasses the Golden Age of Islam, a period when the Muslim caliphate became the intellectual and artistic center of the world for science, technology, medicine, philosophy, literature and everything else that matters. But first the Abbasids under their black flag had to stabilize the empire, through reform and through political expediency.
Under the first five caliphs of the line, the army was restructured, and now included both non-Arabs and non-Muslims. Education was encouraged for all, and the first paper mills in the West, built by Chinese prisoners taken at the Battle of Talas, went up. The currency was standardized and given stability by royal backing, and trade was encouraged through favorable laws and tariffs. Islamic law was again made the standard for the legal system by the Abbasids, who tended to be more religious than the Umayyads. But perhaps, most significant was their willingness to cede local authority to noble families – Al-Andalus and the Maghreb to the Umayyad, Morocco to the Idrisid, Ifriqiya to the Aghlabid, and Egypt to the Fatimid – to maintain the ummah (loosely, the “Muslim community”) as espoused by the Qur'an.
By the time Harun al-Rashid came to power in 786 as the fifth Abbasid caliph, despite the occasional revolt by disgruntled tribesmen, the empire was peaceful, progressive, and monumentally, spectacularly wealthy. Baghdad had a million healthy and happy citizens at the time that Charlemagne’s “great” capital at Aachen held barely ten thousand. Harun’s son, Caliph Abdullah al-Mamun made institutional the House of Wisdom his father had founded in Baghdad, assembling the greatest scholars from three continents to share ideas and cultures with others, both students and teachers. The House was the unrivaled center for the humanities and sciences, with the greatest collection of texts – in Greek, Persian, Sanskrit, Latin, several European tongues as well as Arabic – in civilization. It would remain so until the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan in 1258.
Inevitably, after three-and-a-half centuries, it proved impossible to hold an empire larger than Rome’s together against the tides of history – or, rather, against the Christians. In the far west, the Reconquista was in full swing; the Umayyads were in slow retreat from Iberia. More significant, the Vatican – or at least, Pope Urban II – decided the time had come for unified Christendom to “reclaim” the Holy Land from unified Islam. Hence, a series of Crusades, starting with the ill-fated People’s Crusade in 1096 and the far more successful First Crusade (taking Jerusalem, which was what all the hubbub was about) brought wholesale slaughter back to the Levant, where it would continue for generations. The struggle between the Christians and the Muslims defined the remainder of the Abbasids’ time.
It was left to Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (or simply, Saladin) to drive the infidels out. Although a commander for Nur ad-Din, governor of Seljuk Syria, Saladin was appointed vizier of Egypt by the Fatimid sultan there. When Nur ad-Din died in 1174, Saladin proclaimed the establishment of the Ayyubid dynasty as sultans of Egypt, and soon added Syria. Weathering assassination attempts, minor uprisings and the like, ruling from Cairo (although he was seldom there) Saladin united Islam again under a new Arabian caliphate, and turned his attention to the Crusaders. A truly great military commander, in time he would recapture Jerusalem, smash most of the Crusader states in the Levant, and arrange the Treaty of Ramla with Richard the Lionheart in June 1192, whereby Islam would retain Jerusalem unchallenged and Christian pilgrims to the city would be granted access.
Seven Ayyubid sultans would follow Saladin. They faced insurmountable challenges. Saladin had established a system of “collective sovereignty” for the empire, whereby Ayyubid family members ruled areas as “petty sultans” while one was declared supreme, the 'as-Sultan al-Mu’azzam.' It was a political structure made for contention. Within two generations, the Ayyubid sultanate was in disarray. As provinces rebelled, and the infidels – inflamed by zealous popes – launched yet more crusades to “save Christendom,” the Mamluks managed to topple Ayyubid dominance of Egypt. And then the Mongols descended. After several years of border warfare, the Great Khan ordered his brother Hulagu to extend the Mongol Empire to the banks of the Nile. In 1258 Hulagu Khan took Baghdad and slaughtered its inhabitants, including the caliph and most of his family.
Although successor dynasties would survive, and there would be other Islamic empires, the “Arabian Caliphate” was no more. It was an inglorious end to over 600 years of glory, an era the Faithful should never forget.
- Main article: Arabian cities (Civ6)
|Males||Females||Modern males||Modern females|
- The Arabian civilization's symbol is a crescent (most likely from the star and crescent) and a Judean date palm, which appears on the Saudi Arabian national emblem.
- The Arabian civilization ability references the Muslim belief that Muhammad was the last prophet sent by God.
- The developer's pitch for Arabia was posted by Pete Murray, and can be found in an archived thread on Reddit.
- Arabia's primary colors (yellow and dark green) are identical to those of Ethiopia.
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