Carthage reste, de ces royaumes et empire oubliés, celle des plus légendaires. Le fait qu'un seul homme, Hannibal Barca, ait pu écraser et mettre en péril les forces du plus futur grand empire que connut l'occident, Rome, a gagné pour sa ville et son peuple, issu des phéniciens, l'immortalité. En effet, Carthage fut au départ un comptoir colonial (malgré les histoires de la reine Didon) fondé par des marchands Phéniciens sur la côte nord de l'actuelle Tunisie. La république de Carthage avait des caractères culturels bien spécifiques, avec des influences grecques (comme le modèle démocratique de la thallassocratie Athénienne) tout en étant issue de la culture phénicienne, issue de Syrie (Tyr, Byblos et Sidon). En 300 avant jc., Carthage n'avait pas encore atteint le faîte de sa puissance, et son ennemi était alors syracuse, sa grande rivale de Sicile où les Carthaginois s'étaient installés, dont Agathoclès, leur pire ennemi avant Scipion. Les Barcas notamment dont le vénérable père Hamilcar ("frère de melqart") d'origine obscure, était encore loin de pouvoir influencer le conseil, "sénat" de Carthage... Carthage était une ville quasi imprenable depuis la terre, avec trois murailles successives et une infanterie de citoyens bien équipés et volontaires. Sa marine était son autre point fort, la plus puissante de méditerranée occidentale après celle de Syracuse. Le fameux port cisculaire ne fût bâti qu'après la seconde guerre punique, mais sa flotte était dotée de ce qui se faisait de mieux, trières, tétrères et pentères rapides et rompues aux tactiques navales complexes. Tous les avantages pour débuter, par exemple, la conquête de la sicile ou de la riche ibérie...
L'armée Punique nous est connue par des descriptions d'auteurs comme Polybe ou Tite-live. Elle comprenait un coeur d'infanterie lourde citoyenne (hoplites puniques), des cités voisines (liby-puniques) et auxiliaires libyens, piquiers pour la plupart. La phalange de type Macédonien ne fut semble t'il, pas adoptée avant la campagne d'Hannibal. Les numides, cavaliers très agiles, et javeliniers à pied, et de nombreux mercenaires locaux formaient son armée de campagne. Du temps d'Hamilcar, elle comprenait des frondeurs des Baléares, des Ibères et Celtibères, puis du temps d'Hannibal, des Gaulois, des italiques ainsi que de nombreux mercenaires Grecs. Le génie d'Hannibal, et l'enseignement de son père, firent de cette armée multiculturelle très polyvalente, un instrument de guerre de grande efficacité...
This was 2310 years ago...
Carthage enters the legend as beeing the only power that really threatened a growing Rome, in the last struggle for an oversea domination. As a coastal and seagoing empire, Carthage was founded by genius merchantmen and navigators, the phoenicians, originary from the "levantine" (phoenix) cities of Syria, modern lebanon, as Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. The last beeing semi-autonomous during centuries as the daughter ciity, kart'hadast, litterally "new city", was growing prosperous, due to a perfect settlement between east and west of the mediterraean, controlling much of the trade routes. A great rival soon occured, as Rome was sacked by Brennus Gallic forces, Syracuse; If Carthage, now controlling most of the african shore, west sicilia, Corsica, Sardinia, Baleares and south-eastern spain, Syracuse under Agathocles was a serious challenger for hegemonia in the western mediterranean. Both have the most powerful fleets, with cutting-edge ships and tactics, and were rich enough to afford unlimited number of mercenaries. Hamilcar Barca was not even born in 300 bc. The way is wide open to any carthaginian with sufficient genius to conquer the mediterranean world...
The Carthaginian army is well known, thanks to Polybius and Livy accounts of the three punic wars. Carthage city itself was well-defended, on a near-peninsula, with a very impressive three lines of huge walls, and a famous cutting-edge military harbour (although not built until the second punic war) with admiralty and room enough to 200 drydocks. The core of its army was called the "africans" and encompass both carthaginian citizens and "liby-poeni", or "colonists" of phoenician race in the neighbouring cities, as the lighter libyan troops, raised as spearmen and javelineers. Later, the renowned light numidian cavalry (from the Maesyli tribes), and foot light skirmishers, local slingers, numidian archers and nubian or garamantes mercenaries, were added, just as potential sicilian tribal light infantry, corsican and sardinian archers. In spain, a wide army of very effective mercenaries could be raised, sturdy iberians and later celtiberians. During Hannibal's campaign, other celts were recruted as various gallic mercenaries, Ligurians, various italic mercenaries, especially during the last years of campaign, and greek mercenaries. The punic sarissa phalanx was of probably late adoption, although this is still a debatable question. Nevertheless, in the hands of a tactical genius, such an army, multicultural and difficult to manage, could made marvels and crushing the near-invincible roman war machine..
AFRICAN AOR* - LINE INFANTRY
LIBYAN HOPLITES : This infantry was lately recruited in coastal and inner cities along the african shore. Unlike peasants levied in villages, these are the wealthiest libyan citizens, equipped with the classic hoplite panoply, including the xyston, an affordable chalcidian helmet, a light and cheap leather cuirass, a wood aspis, a short xiphos, and greaves. They are well-trained and numerous compared to the carthaginian hoplites, beeing a large part of the african infantry. They were laterly succeeded by phalanx-trained units, mixed with punic citizen to form late campaign liby-punic hoplites, but these were still recruited locally and considered as a well-equipped hoplite militia.
LIBY-IBERIAN INFANTRY : Mixed units of punic citizens from the carthaginian iberian cities like Carthagena, and local iberian and celtiberian inhabitants with a mixed equipement : Leather armor, celtic scutum, celtic sword, celiberian helmet. Some celtiberians fought also with punic equipment. A late typical product of the carthaginian mixed Hannibal's army.
LIBYAN INFANTRY #1 : The Bulk of african armies was provided by cheap units as those versatile spearmen, using javelins and a short xiphos or a dagger as close-fight weapon. They are usable against all sorts of light infantry, and lightly protected, having just their light helmet and a wicker thureos. Later, they were equipped with a leather cuirass, and a chalcidian or thracian heavy helmet. The third punic units were usually recruited in chainmail equipped mixed units.
LIBYAN INFANTRY #2 : Light model variant of a later libyan infantry, with a light thracian-style helmet and light leather armor. (if your configuration is slow !)
LIBYAN INFANTRY #3: Third version with more detailed model and skins of the same. Chalcidian based helmet and light leather cuirass. Plain Thureos. Short secondary sword. They could be compared to local versions of the greek thureophoroi, but were generally lighter.
LIBYAN MILITIA : In fact, it was the cheapest unit recruitable, mostly peasants and poor citizens, armed with just a mass-product short spear, and protected by a small thureos, and for the luckiest of them, a leather cap. They were recruited in emeregency, throwed to the battle with a short training; They were given orders to keep the line, no more, no less, absorbing much of the enemy infantry impact. Their short spear were quite intimidating for closefight warriors, even for light infantry, although they could be easily routed by a resolute frontal charge or a flank attack. Their best use is for garrison and local guard, and local militia against riots and tribesmen raiders.
EARLY PUNIC HOPLITES : Recoignisable to their old phoenician-syrian helmet, also used by numidian heavy troops, having no cheek nor greaves, a simple wood aspis, a short sword, a xyston, and a bronze smal breasplate over their tunic. It was the old, early carthaginian citizen infantry.
EARLY LIBY-PUNIC HOPLITES : The early liby-punic hoplites were not yet equipped by a chainmail, but the traditionnal old-style hoplite equipment, and the old phoenician helmet. These were greaves, bronze cuirass, large wood aspis, and a good kopis sword. This was an impressive campaign heavy infantry, which was modernised during the first and second punic wars.
LIBY-PUNIC HOPLITES #2 (Second evolution), the one created after hte first punic war. In contact with chainmail-users celtic mercenaries, these hoplites replaced their previous armors, bronze cuirasses or linothorax, for this much modern one. They use a composite heavy helmet, between the light chalcidian and the thracian model.
LIBY-PUNIC HOPLITES #3 : Second evolution (and third variant). High definition Skin variant of the latter.
CARTHAGINIAN PUNIC HOPLITES (Punic wars second evolution) : Citizens form Carthage, well-equipped, with a linothorax, crested helmet, wood aspis, greaves, and kopis sword.
CARTHAGINIAN PUNIC PHALANX : Third evolution of the punic heavy infantry, it was probably trained and equipped as macedonian pezhetairoi at the eve of the second punic war, as greek mercenaries trained Hannibal's troops, and Polybius described them having "long spears". It is still debatable, but as the hellenistic influence of greek preceptor to Hannibal was strong, himself was an admirer of Alexander the great, and such infantry was a logical step, nearly thousand years after the alexandrian conquest... They had a linothorax, light but protective against various projectiles, although not against the heavy roman pila, greaves, heavy thracian helmet, highly protective, wood or composite 60 cm wide aspis, and a xiphos or kopis as secondary weapon.
LIBY-PUNIC PHALANX. One of the last evolutions of liby-punic infantry. It was probably reformed along macedonian tactics and equipments before the second punic war, dure to hannibal's teachers and models. It was at this time, the only chainmail phalanx in the hellenistic world, giving hannibal's army a cutting-edge style.
THANIT SACRED BAND (#1 low-res skin) : First appearance of the Elite sacred bataillon of Carthage. It was composed by aristocratic members of the carthaginian republic, some of them beeing sons of elder councillors (punic senators), even tophet, or wealthy families. Very-well trained, quite impressive, it was probably first known as an elite hoplite unit, fightning in the name of Thanit, the protective goddess of Carthage city. They were using the best equipments available, including bronze armors and shields, and depictions of them generally speaks about their wide white shield, and high plumed helmet. They are not supposed to break anyway.
THANIT SACRED BAND (#2 HD skin) : The famous elite sacred bataillon from Carthage was mentioned during Hamilcar and Hannibal's campaigns, in the greek tradition of sacred citizen elite phalanx, devouted to the goddess protective of Carthage, Thanit. Only the most renowned families of carthage, which could be given their best equipments, are honored to grant their sons to be part of it. In other terms, for some authors, it could be seen also as the senate of carthage elite guard, and normally a carthaginian local force, which was not supposed to serve in a campaign, but only for the defence of the city itself. It was a very impressive unit, which was quite impossible to break, and which was to be fought really until the last man... These were quite rare, beeing only raised amongst the richest families of Carthage itself, and take no part during the battle of Zama.
CARTHAGINIAN AFRICAN VETERAN. This third punic war unit was in fact known since the second punic war, a former Hamilcar veteran hoplites unit, composed by both carthaginian or liby-punic, which fought against the greeks and romans in sicily, and later during the iberian conquest. Some logically became officers, others, highly respected soldiers with an unrivalled war experience. These were the most thoughest, fearless, fiercest, and battl-hardened soldier Hannibal ever had since the beginning of his campaign from iberia to italy. As they were much more capable men than hoplites of phalangites, they were equipped as a heavy unit of thorakitai, much more agile than other heavy troops, and protecting the flanks phalanx just as the macedonian hypaspists did. They were a cutting-edge infantry, bearing a large, convex scutum similar to those of the romans, a high quality chainmail, a heavy falcata, xyston, even javelins. Highly ipressive and versatile, these could be compared to the late "thorakitai argyraspidai' or romanized infantry which fought against numidian's own imitation legionaries during the third punic war.
LIBYAN SKIMISHERS : Recruited amongst the poorest class of libyans, these young warriors fight like greek acontists, with a small wicker shield, a dagger for close-combat, and a bunch of light javelins, mostly edge-shaped woodsticks. Coming from the lowest rank citizens they carry no equipment and must be used with near a quick retirement heavy unit. These units were not the most common, as numidians were preferred in this task.
LIBYAN SLINGERS : Roughly similar to the javelineers as recruitment basis, they were raised amongst peasants and shepherds, mostly in the inner lands, although once again, numidians were preferred at this point, and they were far from efficient compared to the highly skilled Balearic slingers... They fill the ranks of light infantry, operating from safe positions or from behind their lines. Having just a dagger, they are never intended to fight at closerange. Although their skills and range are limited, shepherds and hunters are always efficient against light infantry.
LIBYAN ARCHERS : Recruited amongst the inner land hunters, these were poorely equipped troops, although capable of firing quickly deadly volley from safe positions, such a second line between the african phalanx. Really a few people was capable of accuracy and great range, and their shots struck power were inferior to those of slingers, and they usually have limited ammunition. As a secondary weapon, the had the usual hunter dagger, wich was more utuilitarian than a practical weapon. They usually had no protection, but a "fortune helmet" with probably the tribal braided hairs same as their numidian neighbours.
LIBYAN PELTASTS #1: Much more capable troops than the light acontists, these men can afford a large, much protective wicker thureos, efficient against missiles, but less against spears and swords blows. They use a light helmet, and could afford a kopis for close-combat, that they can sustain against any light infantry, but are weak against heavy infantry due to their lack of good protection, or against cavalry, while having no spear. They are modelled after the greek late heavy peltast, and used as a fast foot scout and for tactical manoeuver over rough terrains.
LIBYAN HEAVY PELTASTS #2 : More efficient than the light aconstists, these troops are raised to the same base as the spearmen, but they are much more capable troops, based on the late hellenistic model. They are well equipped, with a large wood thureos, greaves, leather cuirass, sword, and heavy helmet. They are efficient against light infantry, as foot scouts, on rough terrains, as flanking and fast-manoeuvering unit. They can sustain easily a hand-to-hand combat but that lack of spear made them weak against cavalry. The very last reformed peltasts of this kind were chainmail equipped heavy infantry with thracian helmet.
LIBYAN HEAVY PELTASTS #3 : Last variant of a heavy peltast carthaginian model, romanized, from the third punic war. It was a complementary unit of the veteran spearmen, rendering the carthaginian army then, although still largely dependant of their heavy phalanx, a much more mobile force. These chainmail and heavy thracian helmet troops were well-suited to fight the numidian legionaries.
CARTHAGINIAN MARINES : As the carthaginian navy was one of the best in the known world in 300 bc., a 250 to 300-ships strong fleet with many "kataphraktoi", boeyond the size of a trireme, which was the standard, to the tetreres and penteres, not counting bigger admiral ships, which could boarding between 10 and 50 soldiers. They were described by polybius as real "marine troops", compared to the romans, during the first naval engagements of the first punic war. Carthaginian marine were a fast infantry modelled after heavy peltasts or thorakitai rather as hoplites, in order to boarding and fight more freely. They were elite troops, recruited amongst regular infantrymen and trained as an elite assault infantry, capable also of quick raids on land. They could be used as an auxiliary force in a pitched battle, covering the flanks or giving an extra edge to the medium infantry.
AFRICAN FOREST ELEPHANT : These small elephants were easy to manage, and still powerful beasts that can be used to break enemy formations as living rams. They were brought from slave traders and merchants from the far "nubian" country. These were highly symbolic too, and used by Hamilcar as Hannibal later. They were generally mounted by a cornac, without tower, although the biggest males could be equipped with a light one, with enough room for a single javelineer. These were the famous elephants which crossed the alps with hannibal's army. After this dramatic trip, the desease struckthe only beasts lefts, and only one survived, mounted by Hannibal himself... They were never used in battle in italy, and asiatic elephants were probably used at zama instead.
asian elephant 1
ASIAN ELEPHANT : African elephants were used by the carthaginian army, and were to tiny for even light war towers. Later, Asiatic elephants were brought from a trustful ally, the king of the seleucids. They were well-trained, quite much bigger to accomodate towers. These were mounted by archers or javelineers. These beasts fought probably in spain, during the scipio's campaign, and at Zama, where they were driven off by a clever roman tactic, breaking punic mercenary lines.
ASIAN CATAPHRACT ELEPHANT ; As they were no real proof of hannibal using such elephants, purchased from the seleucid empire, but asian seleucid elephant were often heavily protected, mostly their head and flanks with a large scale armor, and perhaps all other vital parts. It was probably cumbersome and made theses beats heavy (and hurt them), so only the biggest males were retained for such heavy equipment. A large and protected war tower could accomodate up to four well-protected and skilled javelineers, which were deadly as peppering the enemy from a safe position.
LIBY-PUNIC CAVARLY : Equipped as greek "aspidophoroi" (aspis bearers), these cavalrymen were intended to charge as to close-combat. They were quite better equipped than Roman equites, and well-trained, using a light and flexible leather cuirass, greaves, large wood aspis, short spear manned above hand, and kopis or machaira saber. They were quite effective as a flank cavalry and quick reinforcement, and well-suited to purchase light cavalry as they were well-protected and not top-heavy.
CARTHAGINIAN CAVALRY : This citizen cavalry from Carthage was given a leather cuirass, heavy thracian helmet, greaves, machaira, and a long xyston. Carrying no shield, they were intended for quick moves and several charges in the flanks or rear of the enemy line, and fight against any enemy cavbalry unit. Well suited for fast manoeuvers, they were highly reliable cavalry, which proved several time superior to the roman equites in hannibal's battles, atlhough their number decreased dramatically.
ASTARTE SACRED BAND CAVALRY : These heavy lancers were the true elite cavalrymen, the best which can be found in africa, as the ptolemaic agema hetairoi. They are quite heavy, slow, but capable of devastating charges with their very long xyston lance, in the eastern hellenistic style.
CARTHAGINIAN EARLY GENERAL BODYGUARD CAVARLY : Until the relative hellenization of punic infantry and cavalry, during the punic wars, all carthaginian cavalrymen were intended more for close-combat, even dismounted, than devastating charges in the macedonian style. These bodyguards are picked-up horsemen from the most experienced and well-equipped of all units. They are battle-hardened and could fight dismounted if need, acting as a decisive reinforcement. They are roughly similar in that, to the roman equite singulares.
CARTHAGINIAN GENERAL'S CAVALRY (LATE) : A heavy lancer's units of elite horsemen, diven from the wealthiest families and local aristocracy. This is a reformed late bodyguard cavalry. They carry an iron armor, long xyston, machaira, but no shield, as they are keeped in reserve, protecting their general, and intended to deliver a crushing blow.
AFRICAN AUXILIARIES AND MERCENARIES :
NUMIDIAN AUXILIARY ARCHERS (#1 et #2 skins variants) : These very skilled archers were recruited as auxiliaries more than mercenaries, as Carthage lacks any regular unit like this. Massylies like Massaesylies relied heavily upon this kind of infantry which was more professional than levied hunters from the libyan peasantry. They were also equipped with various arrowheads, superior quality longbows, ans short swords or daggers for closefight, although it was not their task. Archers in general were not used so much than the famous balearic slingers which were quite more deadly (and cost less).
NUMIDIAN SKIRMISHERS : Of course not famous as the mounted numidians, light numidian foot skirmishers were renown too, and highly skilled for acting on rough terrains, fast and agile. They were rude and endurant men, capable of fightning in the worst conditions. They followed the whole "african" army, to serve alongside light libyan javelineers. Wearing a simple tunic, using a bunch of javelins and using a simple dagger for close defence, they were not intended for closefight as their protection was poor : A goat pelt and wicker light shield, and their famous braided hair "helmet of fortune"...
NUMIDIAN LIGHT CAVALRY : They were not mounted skirmishers, but really gifted horsermen, capable of the greatest agility ever seen for an african cavalry. They were used heavily by Hannibal as his father, Hamilcar, in all their campaigns, giving excellent accounts of them, if not prowesses. In several battles, their action is often decisive. Thair main goal was not to destroy enemy cavalry, which was clearly superior, as their protection and equipment were poor, but to drive it away, with a hit-and-run tactic turned to and art. Their skills as horsemen were such (particularly for the romans whosed skills on horses were not quite impressive) that they were soon seen as "centaurus"...
NUMIDIAN VETERAN CAVALRY : When Hamilcar Barca died, his campaign in iberia was not over, but he fought continuously, expanding the carthaginian empire farther than never before, siezing large territories and forging military alliances. At this time, he has spent nearly ten years in spain, just as his numidian mercenaries. These battle-hardened veterans were still mounted skirmishers, but clearly far better equipped than thair youngest recruits, having, both by plundering, both by capturing and using enemy's equipments. Numidians were often decsribed using a bronze cuirass as protection, alsthough it was heavy, and the typical puni-iberic conic helmet. During Hannibal's campaign, these veterans played a crucial part while training the youngest recruits and giving an example of bravery and skills. As numidian cavalrymen, while beeing short of ammunition, were often seen engage close-combat or charging roman infantry in the back as in Cannae, these men probably take the biggest part, as they were well-equipped for such occurences. They were clearly, in Italy, one of the best cavalry ever seen.
AFRICAN AOR MERCENARIES
LIBYAN LIGHT MERCENARIES : These libyan tribesmen are recruited in a large aera which was not assimilated to the numidian massylies and massaesylies, nor the "Moors". In fact these were peasants from the north african fertile lands, not directly under carthaginian rule. These were probably poorely equipped, with a cow or goat pelt shield, a bunch of wood javelins and a spear. This was in fact a useful combination as they could act as skirmishers, while holding the line against all counter-attacks. But for their poor skills and lack of protection they were relegated as a reinforcement mercenary warband, an emeregency levy.
NUBIAN INFANTRY : These mercenaries were recruited beyond the desert and used mostly by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, but when the situation was desperate shortly before zama, some "ethiopians" or "nubians" (in fact, all subsaharian tribesmen) could have been recruited to complement the moors. They were not well equipped but impressive and always a punchy attack infantry, although somewhat difficult to control. All these warriors were giving a bunch of wood javelins, a short spear, a mace, club or axe.
MOORISH WARRIORS : Called "moors" but they could have been also berber, they were recruited amongst the northwestern african tribes during the last stage of the second punic war. At that time, they were not particularly useful against roman infantry, but these fierce warriors could hold the line and beeing really deadly in raids and ambushes, as a long-range desert infantry. Not to confound with the Garamantes which were the dominant Saharian tribe.
IBERIAN AOR :
CELTIBERIAN SKIRMISHERS : These light javelineers are driven form celt-iberian peoples. They were not common as mercenaries, often too young, but more accustomed to forest ambushes, and more fierce in close combat than foot numidians. They were given a small round shield, a dagger, and a bunch of javelins. Their wold skin was either used as a fortune helmet, for cold climate, and as a frightening device.
IBERIAN CAETRATI : The "caetrati" were in fact all light troops equipped with the famous caetra, a typical iberian roundshield, which was small but thick and heavy. It was intended for closefight protection, particularly against falcata blows, but were also useful against spear and heavy javelin blows. This was a quite small shield however, and caetrati were generally not well protected, having no armor, and a light helmet. Their main weapon was the falcata, but they usually throw a bunch of javelins before any contact. It was a very effective light infantry, quick enough to catch any king of javelineers and useful on rough terrains and in ambush. Iberian troops were highly mixed, and those young men were enrolled as well, searching for looting or for adventure.
IBERIAN SCUTARI : A quite common mercenary, this was a late iberian infantry with some elements borrowed to their celtiberian neighbours, as the thick and wide scuta, which was in fact, quite more effective in a picthed battle than a caetra, in order to keep their ranks under heavy enemy fire. These "Scutari" as they were called by the romans, could be either spearmen or attack infantry. These Iberians are typical Turdetanian warriors, completely dressed in white with purple fringes as described by Polybius, wearing a light leather and linen crested soft cap which was highly distinctive. As an attack infantry, having no armor, these men were equipped with two or three heavy javelins, wood versions of the deadly soliferum. Elite scutari wore probably scale armors and used this frightening and very effective weapon, which was an all-metal wielded heavy javelin, which can be thrown to a greater range, better accuracy, than ordinary javelins, and was capable of piercing every sort of protection, cuirass, shield, or even helmet. The Roman Pila was slightly improved along this design, with a bigger metal headgear.
SCUTARI SPEARMEN : Often older than common scutari, more disciplined, these troops were used as spearmen, fightning if need with their falcata at close-range. As the Celtiberians, they know how to form a "barbarian" form of phalanx, with the shieldwall tactic, an ancient cetic practice. This infantry was more suited for pitched battles, than ambushes and well-suited for flanking defence against cavalry, although their spear was more designed for infantry fightning. They use a wide scuta and generally were well-equipped, with leather or iron helmet, bronze breasplate over a thick leather jacket, very effective combination. Wealthier warriors were probably equipped with scale armors.
CELTIBERIAN SCUTARI (SWORDSMEN): They were renowned, and Hannibal relied heavily on these troops which proven fierce, fearless, courageous, tireless, disciplined, highly skilled, and trustfully loyal, a unusual fact amongst mercenaries. In fact, some of them were clearly "sacrified" against roman troops, in order to spare carthaginian troops. Most of them were recruited during Hannibal's Iberian campaign and just before sacking Saguntum. Most of them fought in gaul, in Italy, and eventually in Africa, at Zama, with incredible bravery. As described by Polybius, they were described as "invincible" to boost the ally's morale, and a small band of 2000 of them were landed in Africa and fought alone the overwhelmingly superior forces of Scipio, really to the last man.
CELTIBERIAN SCUTARI (SPEARMEN). The Celtiberians were amongst the best mercenaries raised by the carthaginians. They were trustful, disciplined, sturdy, and well equipped. Using a large scutum, even bronze greaves borrowed to the iberians, a bronze or iron breasplate, a heavy celtic longsword, and a tall spear, with a very long spearhead, these celtiberians were also recoignisable to their La Tène typical conic helmets. Their short trousers were probably seen and adopted later by some legionaries during Scipio's iberian campaign and tactical reforms. These men were really effective against cavalry, as beeing well-suited for defending themselves against heavy infantry. They proved to be serious opponnents for the Romans.
PUNIC CAETRATI CAVALRY (#2) light skin; AOR spain, punic appearance. The mounted caetrati were a common style of light cavalry in ancient iberia. A famous bronze sculpture depicts it, with the typical hemispheric, simple helmet (probably made in bronze) summoned by an impressive crest. A falcata, a bunch of javelins were their weapons, making them fast scouts and melee, raiding fighters, really acting as mounted caetrati. Their protection was generally made of a leather jacket, with a bronze disc above, their helmet, and their caetra, still thick enough to stop a falcata blow or heavy javelins (as the terrible soliferum). The Carthaginians relied heavily on these cavalrymen as screening force, much accostumed to make reinforcements and melee fightning than the swift numidians... The most famous of all were the Cantabrians, which left their name to their famous circle skimishing tactic.
WEST MEDITERRANEAN MERCENARIES
SARDINIAN ARCHERS : Although this unit could have been labelled "west mediterranean aor", for practical reasons, it was stepped as a specific unit from Sardinian capital. The Sardinians were an ancient indo-european people settled here since prehistorical age, with a strong local Nuragic culture and various influences from the etruscans, ligurians, iberians, and early "sea people" settlers as the eastern Shardana which left their name to the whole island during the bronze age, and a later strong mycenanean influence. Phoenicians settlements were founded since 1000 bc,In 509 bc, as these colonies has became prosperous and quite bigger, a clash occured with the nuragic kingdoms; Punic presence became a military occupation and after a century of guerilla campaign, the whole island became a punic territory. Sardinia was renowned for its guerrilla fighters and amongst them, the famous Nuragic Archers (or sardinian archers) decribed by Polybius and some authors as used by the carhaginians as mercenaries in the sicilian campaign and throughout the first punic war, and pehaps later during punic campaing in italy (second punic war). These archers were versatile and skilled infantrymen, good ambushers, highly accurate, well-protected with a chainmail-like protection and an liguro-etruscan old-style horned helmet. They were good swordsmen, fightning with a gladius on close contact, and were probably the best renowned mercenary archers in the part of the mediterranean, rivalling with the cretans.
BALEARIC SLINGERS : These well-knowned mercenaries were poorely equipped, but so skilled that they had superior accuracy and range that the Romans never learned to deal with. Their reputation rivalled the famous rhodians, which were equipped with iron bullets rather of stones, for a greater range. The Balearic slingers were native shepherds and hunters raised in the local tribes since probably the bronze age. These men were not protected (although having perhaps a small pelt or wicker shield), they were given a dagger, an later some could have used various equipments taken to the enemy throughout hannibal's campaigns. They were at the same time, cheap mercenary recruits and deadly, as a single bullet would be much more devastating than an arrow. A single shot could kill instantly, as an arrow mostly injures.
SICILIAN TRIBESMEN : Not well equipped, but with a real and profound knowledge of their own country, they mastered ambushes and guerrilla raids as no one in the while island. Ancient Sicilia was knowned for its ancient indo-europeans old inhabitants, which lived in small tribes and kingdoms which were in fact fortified towns on eagle-s nests, with the hilly countryside around. Sicilia, home of the Siculi, was not a tender place. Rocky hills, very hot in summer, with heavy rains in winter, formed a rude, bellicose people with warring clans. This division in fact was proficious for the greek settlers which becomes the mighty Syracusans, and later by the Carthaginians in the east. In fact, soon in the first punic war, the Carthaginians raised numerous local tribesmen for various tasks. Hamilcar used them wisely for tactical moves, ambushes and raids, as they were really skilled for this kind of warfare. They bear a few protection but a wicker shield, and having a light dagger and a spear as main weapon.
MERCENARIES - IBERIAN AOR
CAETRATI : Light mercenaries equipped with the famous caetra. Swoft, young, agile, they are not a crack close-combat infantry due to their limited protection, but with the deadly falcata, they are just serious oppoents for every infantry. The iberians were masters in weaponry due to their long history of warfare, kingdom rivalries, celtiberian invasion and influence. The Falcata could have been a local copy of the greek kopis, brought by the first colonists of the eastern coast, or generated locally and seperately of the famous greek sabre. It is still one of the most beautiful and advanced sword of any time, because of its specific shape, and near-perfect mass distribution, strong iron, allowing it to deliver slashing swords as efficient than axes. This is why the caetra was so thick and hardly reinforced.
SCUTARI : A large and thick wood scutum, reinforced by a central spine, several heavy javelins, a falcata, a dagger (the future roman pugio), a bronze pectoral and a leather crested headgear and sometimes a leather jacket, or a bronze bowl-like helmet. These were the most current mercenaries in use, hardy and versatile, giving all the punch to Hannibal's attack infantry.
CELTIBERIAN SCUTARI : As said above, the celtiberian scutari were the most impressive mercenaries used by Carthage. They used heavy javelins, celtic gaesos which were as devastating than the roman pila, although the last was designed to be not re-used. On the contrary, the strongly-built celtiberian gaesos could be used again after a first lauching.
CELTIBERIAN SPEARMEN : Highly reliable and disciplined, they were capable of holding the line quite well against all cavalry attacks, thanks to their very long spears, with an impressive 60 cm long iron spearhead... When closer to the infantry, their long and high quality celtic sword was deadly around. As they were conceived more as a reserve or defense heavy infantry, emphasis was given to the protection, with a proven combination of the iberian leather jacket and wide bronze pectoral. These were often carefully scuplted, showing a wolf or lynx head, or the classic mditerranean gorgon-head like here. Their broad leather and bronze plated belt was another protection, giving them a better overall protection than the roman lorica hamata.
IBERIAN CAVALRY : Well-known skirmisher cavalry not intended for devastating charges but quick raids, swift tactical moves and to drive away enemy cavalry. Well protected and skilled, they did their best alongside the numidians against roman equites. Hannibal relied knowed that the roman cavalry was the weakest element in any roman legion, both numerically and for their horsemanship qualities and protection, or armament, and used it at his advantage many times, but particularly at Cannae.
Attitudes of the gallic and celtic kingdoms towards Hannibal were mixed at first sight. Diplomatic relationships were soon established with the powerful confederacies as the Arverni and Haedui, the last remains loyal to the romans, and the first too far for effective support. Massilia, the greek-gallic city, also remained utterly loyal to the romans. Hannibal also never planned to besieg the city which was one of the most impressively defended city-state in the whole mediterranean. Local tribes were bellicose, other remains neutral. The Insubres and Boii from transalpine gaul, after Hannibal passed the river Ebro, were given the opportunity of an alliance, as old enemies of Rome. They went to an uprizing in 218 bc, threatening the roman colonies of Placentia and Cremonia, then marched on Mutina where the romans previously escaped. Manlius Vulso raised a 21 600-strong army of romans and socii legions, but after several ambushes and heavy losses during the raising of Mutina, the Senate send an emeregency reinforcement with one of scipio's legions by ship. Hannibal managed to avoid a pitched battle with Scipio and then successfully crossed the alps to come to rescue of his transalpine gauls allies, after suffering numerous mountaineers tribesmen attacks. Most of his celtic mercenaries were raised in the Rhône valley, before, and in the pô valley, after his crossing. He recruits not only gallic Voconcii and Allobroges, but also Ligurians, naturally Boii and Insubres, Cenomani, and eventually Taurisci which were an ancient ligurian people, some "italic barbarians". Celtic-Gallic AOR would allow nearly 30 different types of gallic-celtic infantry. These are in catw, "mercenaries" recruitable in provincial barracks, and standard mercenaries (only a very small part are shown here).
GABALLAROAS : These Light javelineers (Gaballa meaning javelin in celtic-gallic), were young men driven for the most humble southern tribes, equipped with a bunch of javelins and a dagger as close weapon, although they are not intended to fight in any close-combat, this was an quite common school of fight for young tribesmen which were part of the warrior class. Their shield was a relatively small round one so they can be also described as "roundshield skrimishers".
BOII CINGETOS : These transalpine Celts invade the former rich and fertile etruscan lands, and are fierce and proud warriors. Not well equipped (no chainmail nor helmet), they are however picked-up, young but proven and trustful men, having no fear of the romans, as their ancestors sacked Rome a century before. They are typical of the warriors class, equipped with a large thureos, a bunch of javelins and a longsword. This last isn't of high standards, and is used, as described polybius for telamon, for a single heavy slashing blow in the first charge. This kind of sword could be damaged after several blows like this, but not as early as it was caricaturized...
GAELAICHE : A widely spread unit, this infantry was the typical young warrior class versatile unit. They had no helmet yet, a good quality scutum, several javelins, a long gaesos (spear) and a short sword. This kind of infantry was amongst the most common, between the skimishers and line battle infantry. This versatility made them good ambushers as in the same time, good defenders in a piched battle, both against cavalry and infantry. These were also more more efficient than levied skirmishers which were only giving a longer gaesos for close-combat.
BATAROAS : It was probably the main gallic infantry, a proven unit, highly skilled for close-combat and always opening any engagement while launching their light gaesos, then began a prolongated closefight with their shortsword. This last weapon was more common in western and southen tribes than in the north, and more for young warriors as it was cheaper than the long celt classic sword. As this kind of weapon was more easy to use at close-range, and lighter, it was not intended for crushing slashing blows, but rather for prolongated duels. These warriors were wealthy enough, in time, to afford a simple coolus helmet, the well-known "reverse jockey cap" of the celtic halstatt culture, more comon in the north, but that was quicly spread thoughout the gauls as it was easy to produce in mass; The Roman late republican helmet was modelled after this one.
CINGETOS : These veteran warriors, were the best renowned ot the warrior-class as non-noble infantry. They were battle-hardened, using the classic heavy gallic chainmail armor, the long gaesos (spear), an excellent quality longsword, and various helmets, lavishly decorated, although less than those of chieftains and nobles. The plumed montefortino was quite common. These warriors were too heavy for efficient skrmishing and were usually keeped in reserve, to add their resolute force after the first charge, if it was not sufficient to break the enemy's lines. They were usually fighnting with their spear overhand, a quite common feature amongst the southern gauls, transalpine gauls and boians, helveti warriors, which were in contact since a century with the greek-warfare practiced by the massilians and the etruscans. These elite warriors were not a cheap recruitment, but proven far superior to any other gallic mercenary.
LIGURIAN SPEARMEN : The Ligurians were an ancient people of obscure origin, one of the very first of indo-European roots (like etruscans, ancient italics and iberians) who settled in a large aera which encompass the whole transalpine italy (stretching from southern gaul to the veneti peoples). It was a "barbarious" people of several tribes, some of these like the Taurisci probably settled in central italy as far to the north before beeing expelled by the celts. Laterly, the Gauls and Boii assimilated them, and this became the Celto-Ligurian culture. Ligurian spearmen were common warriors equipped with a spear and several javelins. They were dressed with tunics, have a cloak, using old italic pot-helmets, anf fight with a spear and several javelins, as a large thureos. They are mentioned by several authors as hannibal's common mercenaries and fought well during the whole italic campaign.
TAURISCI AXEMEN : One of the last Ligurian tribe (and the most important) to survive the Boii and gallic invasions and assimilation, the Taurisci survived in central italy, as a bellicose and proud tribe. Seen as "barbarians" by the romans and most of the southern italic civilisations, they were equipped in an old-fashion way, but still very efficient and sturdy. Equipped with a scutum, javelins, and a deadly light axe, from the illyrian and venetian tribes, thy were renown as an attack infantry and used as such by Hannibal during his italic campaign...
GALLIC GENERIC MERCENARIES
GOLBERI CUROAS (low skin variant - new version to come) : A quite common heavy infantry, not wealthy enough to have a chainmail, but proven warriors using good montefortino helmets, several gaesos and the classic longsword. "Curoas", according to EB researches, meaning "paid men".
ENOCI CUROAS (low-skin variant): Slightly less equipped mercenaries, they were, however, classic gallic young warriors, with only a long sword and several heavy gaesos to launch before any assault. They are proven warriors, but not veteran mercenaries, which were better equipped and protected.
Once Hannibal rushed in Northern Italy with his whole multicultural army and some of his surviving elephants, his legend was written. After some days spend to left his army recovering from its extreme exhaustion, and the Roman upcome their displeasing surprise, both armies prepares for the most serious engagements. At the time of the famous Trebia river battle, The punic army still count on numerous celts, and celtiberians mercenaries. The only left elephant was now Hannibal's personnal mount. Himself, after passing the alps, lost an eye of extreme exhaustion. But he was near of his greatest glory. After Trebia, he crushed a new army, uncarefully engaged on the ground he wants. After Trasimene, the Romans could still count on their own huge roman and allied troops. But after Cannae, he ruined all roman hopes and opened the way to the hatred city itslef . But his strategy, beeing to the gates of Rome and then retire to devastating the countryside, waiting the final fight with the last consular army, he was not able to raise a siege, and give all his hopes in the turn back of many italian cities. But this attemps eventually failed, although some cities effectively turns down, mostly in magna grecia, which were still thirsty to take their revenge after Pyrrhus death and bring to an end roman's hegemony. Hannibal then could resplenish a part of his own army with fresh italian troops. The these events took an apex when Hanno was sent to the Samnium to rais troops, but these levies were intercepted and defeated at the Battle of Beneventum (214 bc), ruining Hannibal's hopes to strenghten heavily his armies with numerous italics. Turning his tide to magna grecia cities, he gained some minor victories, take Tarentum but failed in the long-term to turn them all in his favor, and still lacking any reinforcements from Africa, waiting the final struggle that will comes... in africa.
OSCAN SPEARMEN : The Oscan were not a single people but a whole civization, one of the very first in the southern-central peninsula. In fact the famous Samnites were just a part of it, although enemies, at the point that they urged Rome to the rescue. After Samnite defeat at the end of the second punic war, the rich Campania, centered around Capua, falled under Roman control. But southern Oscans in campania were still parrtly autonomous, in the magna grecian sphere of influence. They fought with Pyrrhos, beeing under roman control once more, but when Hannibal crushed the last armies sent to him at Cannae, some southern Oscans defect the romans and joined his army. The old Oscan infantry was like the 400-500 bc romans and latins were. They still used ancient helmets as this impressive "hat-like" Kugel and Negau-family helmet which was the most common in the peninsula for poor soldiers. It was easy to produce, but heavy and impressive, and need a leather strap to be fixed. The concave scutum, made of wood and leather was also common and easier to produce than the aspis. These spearmen are disciplined, agile, using a short sword in close-battle.
SAMNITE INFANTRY : They were during three wars, the most implacable enemies of Rome, after the Etruscan has fallen. They were ipetuous and warlike tribes seen as "barbarians", living in the appenine mountains. During a century they lived surrounded by peaceful oscan farmers, part-time raiding and pillaging villages around. Some Samnite pastoral tribes, probably more peaceful, eventually manage to deal with loca Oscan tribes and settled in the plains. A century passed, as the mountaineers Samnites rose again and launched devastating raids throughout Campania, even threatening Capua itself. The Senate of Rome was called to the rescue. After two wars and the most humiliating defeat the romans has ever known (the caudine pass), they stood once more for an ultimate fight, coalizing the gauls, the etruscans, the umbrians, to rally them. The final victory of Rome ended not only the samnite threat, but then all threats from the central peninsula itself. The roman hegemony was limited, in the north by the warlike gauls, and in the south by Magna Grecia, not to mention Syracuse. When Hannibal crushed the Romans at Cannae, he raised a new hope amongst numerous samnites tribes, amongst them some managed to rally the carthaginians. The samnite were impressive soldiers. Proud of their ancestry and the famous "linteati" and their terrific pact of death, with the reputation of born-warriors (the samnites were also an early nickname for all the most famous gladiators, before becoming an arena wargear). Agile, using light equipments as javelins, short spears ans swords, light asymetrical shields, they inspired some major changes in the early camilian roman army itself. Mobility and flexibility were directly taken form them, as the classic old hoplite phalanx system was unappropriate in the appenine mountains. As they were, hannibal could have been counting on this agility to make fast tactical moves on the most rugged terrains.
ITALIC SKIRMISHER : Bearing the Negau-pylos like helmet, these italic skirmisher was a a rather common style of light, but also old-fashioned infantry. They were raised amongst tribal villages and were light recruits from the apennines, and samnium, as campania and lucania. They were given a light asymetrical scutum, some javelins and a kopis-style sword, which was quite popular amongst the southern italic allies of Hannibal. It was also a current feature to bear a bronze belt, made of several bronze plaques on a thick leather strap, as an abdominal extra protection.
CAMPANIAN HOPLITE : Throughout Magna Grecia, the greek cities which fought alongside Pyrhhos against roman hegemony loose everything in 280 bc. Although most of them retained their independence, the roman presence was still tolerated, not warmly. When hannibal gave the feel that once more, the roman can be defeated, most of these cities choosed to stay in a careful standby. Taras (Tarentum), amongst other Apulian cities, was not pleased by the construction by the romans of the via appia, that relied Rome directly to Brundisium, isolating the old and proud city-state from the local maritime seatrade. But while not taking openly arms against Rome, they don't dissuade any of their citizens to rally Hannibal's legendary army as mercenaries. Most of them took service during the failed attemps to lift the siege of local major cities.. They were typical hoplites, using the classical apulo-chalcidian feathered or crested helmet, greaves, breastplate, doru, xiphos, and the classic wood large aspis. They were more mobile than classic hoplites however, beeing used as a flanking heavy infantry rather than a central phalanx unit.
TARAS HOPLITAI #1 : Ancient possible appearance of these hoplites from tarentum, recruitables by the syracusans, epirots, or even the Carthaginians locally in 300 bc. Bronze cuirass, large aspis, doru, and corinthian helmet.
TARENTUM HOPLITAI (#2): Clearly the best hoplites raised by Hannibal's forces, they were recruited in Taras (Tarentum), when falled after a successful siege in 212 bc, thanks to the local democratic faction and his carefully built coup. He gained control to the whole city except the citadel, still in roman's hands until 209 bc, when the city felt once more to the other side by treachery. During this time, Hannibal managed to raise local citizens as mercenaries, and although they did not take part to some major battles, they were impressive warriors, well trained and disciplined, proud of their spartan ancestry, with the last equipments, including linothorax, modernized chalcidian helmet, reinforced aspis, ans xiphos sword. Naturally gifted to take place in the central heavy phalanx core of hannibal's army they could give good accounts of them.
APULII EXTRAORDINARII : This well-known generic infantry was recruited by the roman consul amongst the best troop that their ally must supply and directly placed under their own command. They usually serve as as a heavy scouting force, preceding from far the roman legion. Disciplined, highly skilled, endurant, giving the best equipment available, they usually fight with a sword, but giving one or two additionnal spears for launching betwen any engagement. After Hannibal managed to crush the biggest roman army ever raised at Cannae, he began to raise local heavy troops to fill his depleted ranks. At this time, some of his best foot troops were former "extraordinarii" in roman service, which joined him to serve as mercenaries, mostly from apulia and calabria. A bronze cuirass, bronze large aspis, bronze attic helmet, greaves, and a high quality kopis sabre were their current dotation. They were agile enough to serve as second wave scouts (behind the numidian cavalrymen) but also as a fast flanking force, and naturally gifted assault troops in the numerous sieges that occured between 214 and 209...
GREEK PELTAST (early version - low res skin) : A quite common infantry, the peltasts were nearly a synonim for "mercenary". The reason dates back to the wars of peloponnesus when the two leaders, Saprta and Athens, raised numerous mercenaries (but particularly Athens) amongst local troops. For Athens, the thracian peltasts served as a model for further evolution of local troops, equipped with the large thureos instead of the light crescent "peltè". Later these greek mercenary peltast were equipped with an affordable equipment. They wore a tunic, to be more agile, protected by a chalcidian or thracian helmet, greaves, and a thureos which became more heavy in time, entirely built in wood and covered by leather, reinforced by a central boss and spine. In 300 bc, a new derivation of the classic peltast became more popular, the thureophoroi. Some heavy peltasts were giving a quilted jacket, or even a light linothorax, giving them a true medium infantry range and style. In 214 bc, these mercenaries were more common as the linothorax was ancient and now built in mass at affordable costs.
MERCENARY HOPLITES #2 : Second version of the same model, with a linothorax and a chalcidian helmet. It was the most current mercenary after the famous peltasts, rarer, because of their quite more heavy equipment. This was what they probably looked like in 214-209, the last evolution of a genre which was nearly exctinct : Ten years ago, most of the most conservative cities and leagues adopted the phalanx and thuerophoroi as their main infantry. All this old-fashioned, second hand equipment was still available, however, for mercenaries...
MERCENARY PHALANX : Driven from nearby Epirus, as from the greek leagues, these phalangites mercenaries were used since the first sicilian war by the father of Hannibal, Hamilcar, which recruited a famous mercenary captain, probably introducing the sarissa phalanx into the punic tactic, athough this was probably Hannibal which generalized it in full-scale. Since Alexander the greatn, the macedonian phalanx was a model of unbeattable war machine. It was widely spread throughout the east, but greeks retained their old hoplite-phalanx system, at least to 220-210 bc, when most major greek leagues adopted this kind of infantry, not only the Aetolians, Epirot, Pergamians, Achaians, but also the Spartans, the most conservative of all. These phalanxes were equipped less heavily than battline diadochi pezhetairoi, using various second-hand equipments, but still 60 cm wood light shields, linothorax or bronze cuirasses, and various helmets of the chalcidian design.
EARLY LIBYAN HOPLITE MILITIA (UNUSED): Early hoplites from carthaginian cities outside Carthage itself. They were equipped with a small and light helmet, having a spear, a dagger for close fight (which were not intended for), a wicker or wood aspis, no armor but sometimes a small bronze plate. Useful as garrison troops, they could be raised in emeregency amongst poor citizens, becoming a local defence militia. They were replaced during the punic wars by better equipped spearmen.