Dated: May 27, 1998.
The Carthaginians - It may be said that Hannibal was rightly a great commander, for the army that he had to work with was a motley bunch. The Carthaginians were a seafaring people and their real strength was in their navy. Most of the man power they had they put into their galleys; their galleys were citizen rower powered, unlike later day navies which utilized slave power. It's hard to imagine any citizen willingly taking up rowing duties in a galley but they seem to take this for granted.
First blood - Long before the Romans were on the map Carthage was already a pretty good sized empire. It was rather more a trading empire than Rome's later conquering empire, but an empire nonetheless. Carthage's first opponents were the Greek colonists on Sicily. This was the big island off the toe of Italy and close to Carthage. It was settled very early on by Greeks who in their own fashion never colonized the island as one entity but as a series of small city states. The Carthaginians in their turn had trading posts (which became cities) on the opposite end of the island. The nature of the Greek city states continually gave rise to tyrants who by nature were never satisfied with one city but tended to attack other cities and then quite naturally tried to drive the Carthaginians off Sicily as well. Carthaginian foreign policy was to play one tyrant off another, which worked quite well, as no tyrant ever wanted another to be too powerful. Ethic cleaning out of the Carthaginians was usually under the guise of ridding the island of "barbarians" but this was a pretty weak excuse as the Carthaginians had been trading regularly with the Greeks for eons and were probably as civilized if not more. The black splotch on the Carthaginian page was that they still sacrificed babies but ironically, regular contact with Greek civilization was weaning them off that.
Citizen army - Carthage had a small army of citizen soldiers who dressed and fought Greek phalanx style which at that the time was the number one military tactic. One time Carthage sent out a large citizen army of 3,000 troops to fight, this was called the Sacred Band and was highly drilled and had a high esprit de corps. The Greeks decided nothing was sacred and vanquished them. Subsequently, we no longer hear of such a large citizen army, or any other Sacred Band, or maybe the Carthaginians just decided not to tempt fate again with a name like that.
For hire - The Carthaginians were affluent and they mostly hired out for their dirty work. Willing and unwilling mercenaries included the native Numidians and Libyans, the Spanish, other Greeks and latterly, the Celts.
This box consists of African Infantry which were:
1) The heavies. These were Carthaginian citizens, Greek mercenaries, native Libyans, or Libyphoenicians, these last were of mixed Libyan Phoenician blood or natives who had adopted Carthaginian culture. The heavies were heavy infantry who were armed and fought hoplite style.
2) Native Numidian skirmishers.
3) Carthaginian light infantry.
The African Infantry were Hannibal's veterans and made up the core of his army. Not only were they strengthened by camaraderie but the fact that desertion back to Africa was difficult if not impossible.
Carthaginian Heavy Infantry:
The heavies fought in a phalanx. A well trained phalanx was strong both offensively and defensively.
Defensively, the individual soldiers were well armored, with helmets, body armor, large shield and greaves on the shins. He was well protected from the missile weapons of the enemy light troops. More importantly, he was protected by soldiers all around him who were similarly heavily armored and a man feels more secure in a crowd.
Offensively, the phalanx was the ancient equivalent of the irresistible force, with a thousand legs and bristling with spears. In a pushing match, all things being equal the larger phalanx won. But the phalanx was vulnerable in many ways, on uneven ground, and from the sides and back.
Panoply, from head to toe:
Helmet: Each man had a metal helmet, most with cheek pieces. Many helmets were distinctly Eastern or Phoenician looking as befitting their Eastern origin.
Muscle cuirass: similar to the Greeks, metal, some can be works of art. (You can order one with extra muscle definition).
Linen armor: Layers of linen glued together, more than 1/4 inch thick, strong and light, and also inexpensive. (Can be done in home team colors.)
Mail: Taken off the Romans. Interwoven rings, strong and expensive, the pinnacle of defensive metal technology at that time. (Free, but you have to kill for it.)
Shield: Large round shield about a meter in diameter. Must have been very heavy, but large surface area to shield you and your neighbour when in phalanx. Held by the left arm, it protected yourself and the man to your left. The phalanx tended to drift right as everyone tried to get more shield. To increase the chances of survival in Greek warfare, make sure you're lined up next to a skinny guy, a big fellow will take up too much of his own shield and leave you out in the open (don't line up next to him, line up behind him).
Greaves: Anyone who's played soccer knows two things, a kick in the shins really hurts! And those bloody things (shinguards) always fall down! Carthaginians have them bilaterally (who knows when you have to shift your stance).
The man to the left is wearing mail armor of the Roman type, most probably taken off a dead Roman foe. Roman armor was excellent (copied from the Celts) and required some skill to make. When Hannibal took his army and war into Italy he massacred plenty of Romans, excellent armor notwithstanding and replaced all his worn and broken armor with the spoils (ironically, though only one dead Roman was needed for a change of armor, two dead Romans were need for new greaves as each Roman only wore one greave, on the lead leg). The Carthaginians however kept the rest of their gear. A belt was worn to keep some of the weight of the armor off their shoulders, but old habits die hard and it is interesting to note that the baldric or shoulder belt was kept to hold the sword even though the waist belt could have done double duty. The man on the top right wears linen armor.
Three of our Carthaginians carrys spears, only when his spear was broken or when he was drawn into close combat did he draw his sword (above left).
Here are the steps we went through to make the figure on the above left.
The first picture was the first try. It wasn't what we wanted so the whole figure was redone. The second picture shows a rough of the pose we used.
The 3rd picture shows him suitably armed. You'll notice that not only is he armed, his pose has been altered slightly. The hard part is the body language, this is a huge intangible, but can all the difference between making him a favorite figure or an ugly figure. The top figure looks is looking up slightly, like he's guarding against a horseman or projectiles coming in or a pike being thrust over the top of his shield. The bottom figure looks more like he is about to thrust at some one on level with him.
Here's how we came up with the figure on the above right. He is supposed to be advancing in phalanx. The first picture looks like he was running, and his shield is in the wrong place. The second picture has his foot down now, but his shield is still in the wrong place. The 3rd picture, he wasn't really advancing aggresively enough, so here's the second try, but his shield is still wrong. Finally, in the final pose, armored and with his shield on his arm.
Light Carthaginian Infantry
No body armor, but had metal helmet and shield. Armed with sword and spear.
No armor at all, but round shield. Light of foot, armed with javelins, skirmished like their cavalry counterparts.
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