Frescoes from Quṣayr ʿAmra, mid-8th century AD, Syrian, in situ, Jordan.

Six Kings

Picture source:
These early Islamic frescoes have strong Persian and Byzantine influences. The original castle complex was built in 723-743 by Walid Ibn Yazid, the future Umayyad Caliph Walid II. It was a fortress with military garrison and residence of the Umayyad Caliphs. Today only the royal pleasure cabin remains, with reception hall and hammam or bath house.

Facing a pair of soldiers on the other side of an enthroned member of the Umayyad ruling family are more spear-armed soldiers who, lacking helmets, may represent light cavalry. One or perhaps two of them have their hands open in the welcoming gesture which also appears on other wall paintings in this ceremonial reception hall, (in situ Qusayr 'Amra, Jordan; David Nicolle photograph)
Source: p.32, EH - 071 - The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632-750 by David Nicolle


Picture source:

Photo by Jordan Pickett

An infantry archer or huntsman, clearly using a form of finger- rather than thumb-draw. This painted ceiling dates from the first half of the 8th century, (in situ Qusayr 'Amra , Jordan; David Nicolle photograph)
Source: p.30, EH - 071 - D.Nicolle - The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632-750

Enthroned Ruler

Figure 50, p.44 Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250 by Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, Marilyn Jenkins-Qasr Amra
8th century painting of an enthroned prince with attendants.

Figure 122 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
122. Frescoes from Quṣayr ʿAmra, mid-8th century AD, Syrian, in situ, Jordan.

Vol. 1 p.171: Other evidence indicates that scale hauberks were widely used in the so-called Dark Ages, both within the world of Islam (Figs. 115, 122, 123, 189, 210, 258, 292, 305, 340, 384, 385, 416, 498, 515, 545, 548, 576, 577, 580, 581, 597, 603, 604C, 606, 609 and 659) and beyond (Figs. 196, 213, 229, 239, 241, 413, 417, 418, 446, 557, 586, 587, 609B and 634).

Vol. 1 p.217: Mail defences, migifars or zardīyah coifs, chasmak or sirash aventails,35 or giriban throat-covering gorgets,36 all appear in the pictorial sources and seem to have been quite widespread (Figs. 122, 146, 220B, 292, 422, 428, 430, 435, 445, 446, 447 and 507).

35. Mubārakshāh, op. cit., p. 252; Firdawsī, op. cit., pp. 59 and 725; Ayyuqī, op. cit., verse 710.
36. Firdawsī, op. cit., p. 818.

Vol. 2 p.346: Such a diversity of equipment is also portrayed in Umayyad art. Most of the heavy armour is shown on infantry in such sources (Figs. 122, 123, 124, 127, 141, 339 and 340). Yet this need not be a major difficulty, as at that time there appears to have been little specialization of equipment and hardly much more of military function. In one case (Fig. 122) warriors are represented with long-bladed spears of a type that will later be associated with cavalry. They are, in fact, probably horsemen as they stand in iconographic balance with apparently infantry warriors (Fig. 122) on the walls on either side of an enthroned ruler or prince at Quṣayr ʿAmr.

See also A reconstruction of the Umayyad, Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi floor - Plate B “Deux fresques omeyyades,” Syria 25, 1946-48 by D. Schlumberger
Umayyad Soldiers on a Coin of Yazīd ibn al Muhallab, early 8th century AD, Gurgān: Coll. of the American Numismatic Society.
Other Illustrations of Arabian Costume & Soldiers
Other 8th century Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers