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Carthaginian Military and Mercenary


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Recently, I have found some interesting data. After seeing that, I wonder that Carthaginian military is less self than more non-self. But still it would hasn't some units which are historically accurate. Again, some of the important embassies are also missing. i.e.

    About the part of the Carthaginian army composed of proper carthaginian troops -not mercenaries- the argument is very complex

Even if Carthage always relied heavily on mercenaries, Carthaginans, Lybo-Phoenicians and Lybians always played a part in the military structure of the army.

If Lybians in the ancient period are mercenaries like Spaniards and Celts, with the expansion of Carthage in the African hinterland, gradually became a part of the Carthaginian society, and the term "Lybo-Phoenician" itself became something more variegated, inteded to define both carthaginian citizen or meteci of mixed heritage and Lybians fully influenced by carthaginian culture 

At the battle of Crimissus (341 B.C.), within various groups of mercenaries, was deployed a force of "ten thousand hoplites with white shields, and for the splendour of their weapons, the measured and disciplined way of marching, were identified as Carthaginians" (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Timoleon - 27).
Writing about the same battle, Diodorus named a particular unit of 2500 men, all from noble carthaginian families, that formed a "Sacred Battalion" or "Sacred Band" (X, 20, 6 and XVI, 80, 4), that have been connected with the theban hoplite battallion with the same name.

More or less one century afterward, the situation appeared not so different: even if finding the necessity to rely on the military counsel of the spartan Xantippus, it appears that him gave a better organization to the army, but didn't change basically its approach to the battle: at the Battle of Tunis, the Carthaginians were deployed in a phalanx formation, in the center of the army, distincted from the mercenaries units that were deployed on the right wing (Polybius, Histories, I, 33).

Obviously we can't be sure that the phalanx employed at the Battle of Tunis was a hellenistic phalanx or an hoplite phalanx, but the little carthaginian iconography we have for the period depicts a panoply that seems quite hoplitic.

However, even at the time of the First Punic War probably Carthaginian soldiers weren't only hoplites: at the battle of Adys, Carthaginian infantry was deployed on rough terrain where, Polybius states, other carthaginian corps, elephants and cavalry, would have been of no use, implying however that Carthaginian infantry was able to operate on rough terrain (Polyb. I, 30, 6-7).
That probably implies that at last some "thyreos-bearers" were already in use in the Carthaginian army in that period.

In any case, the real twist in the Carthaginian army probably occured during Hamilcar's occupation of Spain. 
The iberian areas intersted by Carthaginian influence started to present an increasing number of thyreos shields, that in the Iberian and Turdetanian contest is heavily frequent, even over the local kind of shield, the round caetra.
A possibility is that in the necessity to enable his army to confront the Iberian hit-and-run warriors in their harsh context, in a specular and parallel manner of wich occurred to the Roman army during the occupation of the harsh Samnium, Hamilcar reform is army in more versatile and maneuverable ways.

As a matter of fact, when defining the tactical groups of the African veterans in barcids army, Appian and Polybius will use the word speirai, the same word that is used to describe roman maniples, or in general a maneuverable formation, in opposition to syntagma, that is used to define tactical groups of a phalanx.

Moreover, Polybius states that the gaulish king Braneus, helped Hannibal's men during the expedition toward the Alps, and "replaced all their old or worn weapons with new ones" (Pol. III, 49, 11), and also the Libyans and the Lybo-Phoenicians, according to both Polybius and Livy (Polyb. 3.87.3, 114.1; Liv. 22.46.4) at some point of the invasion of Italy were armed with the best Roman equipment looted from the battles of the Trebia and Trasimene, and this clearly states that they were accustomed to use a thyreos-like shield, and all that follows: being accustomed to a shock-and -charge tactic with heavy missile weapons followed by hand-to-hand combat with swords. 

Looking onward, during the Third Punic War, when Carthage starts to rearm, they produced "Thyreos, Xyphos, Saunion (socketed-pilumlike javelin) and Longche" (Appian, Punike, 93), and in the list of the weapons that Carthage surrended to the Romans, are cited only throwing spears and javelin. 
There is no reference at all about oplon or doru, and obviously no mention of sarissa pikes at all

The misconception of a Carthaginian army with an "African Hellenistic Pikemen Phalanx" is due to an infamous wrong traduction of Loeb, adopted also by Connely, of the term "Lonchophoroi" in Polybius, that was misinterpreted for a synonym of "sarissophoroi" and so translated like "pikemen".

The "longche" used by the Lybian and Lybo-Phoenician wasn't at all a sarissa, but a relatively short spear, with a broad head, used both for stabbing and as a throwing weapon, (Strabo, XVII.3.7), and moreover the the Lonchophoroi in specific weren't the African Veteran line infantry, but light, skirmish troops, paired with Balearic slingers and used in the rough terrain during the Trasimene ambush:

"Hannibal, coasting the lake and passing through the defile occupied himself the hill in front, encamping on it with his Spainards and Africans; his slingers and LONCHOPHOROI he brought round to the front by a detour and stationed them in an extended line under the hills to the left, he placed them in a continous line under the hills to the right of the defile, and similarly taking his cavalry and the Celts round the hills on the left, he placed them in a continuous line under these hills, so that the last of them were just at the entrance to the defile, lying between the hillside and the lake."

And more:

"When the Roman cavalry fell back and left the flanks of the infantry exposed, the Carthaginian LONCHOPHOROI and the Numidians in a body, dashing past their own troops that were in front of them, fell on the Romans from both flanks, damaging them severely and preventing them from dealing with the enemy in their front." (Polybius III, 73, 7)

The fact that Polybius use the term "Lonchophoroi" (lett. "spear-bearer") instead of "Akontistai" or "Psiloi", normally used in Greek to define skirmishers, is probably due to the huge versatility of Hannibal's light infantry, probably a mix of caetrati, Celtiberians and Lusitanians (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXI, 57) and Lybians (the warrior depicted on Smirat's Relief in Tunisia, with round shield and spears/javelins, desc), equipped not only with missiles like falaricae(all of them) and soliferrea (the Spaniards), but even with a spear that could be used both for throwing and as a thrusting weapon (cfr. J. Lazenby, "Hannibal's War"), maybe te same "small broad-bladed longchai" that Strabo linked to some Lybian light troops (XVII.3.7).


Base Troops:
Libyan Javelinemen (MERC for the first period)
Libyan Thyreophoroi Spearmen (MERC for the first period) 
Libyan Levy Hoplitai (MERC for the first period) 
Blastophoenician Militia
Carthaginian Citizen Levy Hoplitai
Carthaginian Mariners
Carthaginian Citizen Cavalry
Libophoenician Cavalry
Oscan Mistophoroi (MERC)
Apuani Warriors (MERC)
Celtic Swordsmen (MERC)
Celtic Skirmish Cavalry (MERC)
Numidian Skirmish Cavalry (MERC)
Iberian Caetrati (MERC)
Sardi Pellitti Militia (MERC)
Balearic Slingers (MERC)
Mauri Archers (MERC)

Hamilcar Reform Troops:
Libophoenician Thyreophoroi
Libophoenician Thorakitai
Celtiberian Cavalry (MERC)
Turdetani Scutarii (MERC)
Edetani Scutarii Spearmen (MERC)

Hannibalic Reform Troops:
African Veterans
Lonchophoroi (MERC)
Ilergete Scutarii (MERC)
Celtiberian Scutarii (MERC)
Cantabri Axemen (MERC)
Lusitanian Caetrati (MERC)
Oretani Warriors (MERC)

So, my suggestion is to make two new embassies, and add Libyan Javelinemen as Citizen unit and Carthaginian Mariners as Champion units.

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I have also found some other interesting data about Carthaginian army, although it seems that it's not a new concept....  

These skirmishers are recruited from the Libyan villages on north Africa that are under Carthaginian rule.

Libyan Skrimisher 

In ancient period Libyan are presented in classical records as mercenaries, and one of the leaders of the Great Mercenary Mutiny was a Libyan, Zarza.

  1. But after the end of the revolt, tamed by Hamilcar Barca in 238 B.C., Libyans gradually became part of the social tissue of Carthage (even if the lowest, and always a peripheral one), and gradually their troops became a levy. 

    Silius Italicus in the Punica wrote about Libyan light troops wearing red robes and carrying light "parmae" shields.

    The presence of coloured men is attested by iconography, but they aren’t actually coming from defined ethnic groups, but it’s highly more probable that “Libyan” communities had a mixed ethnic composition.
    Remember that actually “Libya” wasn’t a term used in modern acception by Greeks and Romans, but actually was a quite generic term that initially defined all Saharian and costal Africa (With the exception of Egypt). 
    In our period however, “Libyans” was used more or less to define North African people most of all of berber stock and some coloured presence that were under direct Carthaginian rule.
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I do not mean Delenda Est. The default public mod should have Libyan Skrimishers in place of Mauritian Archer, as the former one is more common. 

As per the source--Carthaginian Military Composition--- it definitely supports my argument.

Again, similarly Delenda Est also lacks default Numidian Skrimisher Cavalry.

So, my suggestion is to construct a compact package of units to make the game more realistic.


Edited by Diptangshu
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2 minutes ago, Diptangshu said:

I do not mean Delenda Est. The default public mod should have Libyan Skrimishers in place of Mauritian Archer, as the former one is more common. 

As per the source--Carthaginian Military Composition--- it definitely supports my argument.

Again, similarly Delenda Est also lacks default Numidian Skrimisher Cavalry.

So, my suggestion is to construct a compact package of units to make the game more realistic.


Don't underestimate our moods... many things were created in mods first  before vanilla. 

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Cause Everything is currently frozen until we are GDPR compliant. Then the public mod hadn't changed much in the past years due to a lot of reasons but mainly lack of manpower. We're not closed to solutions. We just don't always have the capacity to process it.

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On 6/22/2018 at 9:06 PM, Diptangshu said:

No, no I don't underestimating. I only says if the DE can then why the public mod is still old-fashioned?

The public mod has to apeal to a wider audience. For example, the classical players from AoE series. Mods such as DE are tuned mainly for recreational players that are looking for something more. Everyone should be able to tune their game to how they want it. A lot of effort has gone into keeping it that way.

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