Dated: May 20, 2005.
These 2 new Carthaginian infantry figures continue our series of "The Soldiers of the Punic Wars". Carthaginian infantry formed the nucleus of Hannibal's army, however they were a small portion compared to the rest of the army as Carthaginians preferred to be in the Navy. The bulk of their army were mercenary hires.
32007 - Carthaginian spearman.
The Carthaginians were heavily influenced by the Greeks and fought in phalanxes. This man shows what one of the Carthaginian spearman would have looked like.
The story of Hannibal crossing over the Alps with his elephants is an epic that most of us have known about since childhood. Though only 3 elephants were left by the time Hannibal had crossed the Alps, it's to these 3 elephants that he owes his immortality. If all the elephants had died, the story of Hannibal making it through the Alps with a dozen donkeys and 5 goats would not have nearly the same panache. Hannibal owes it all to...... his elephant keeper.
32008 - The Carthaginians were heavily influenced by the Greeks and fought in phalanxes. And once his spear broke, this is what he would have looked like.
Excerpted from our 8020 Carthaginian Heavy Infantry page:
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 spearman 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.
Editor's notes: Hannibal does have the last laugh. Maybe it's our love of the underdog, or the hero, or the epic, but in the USA, we have more towns named Carthage than Rome. And Hannibal is a much more common name than Scipio. Scipio who? Yup, the guy who defeated him. Of course the poor guy who should have gotten the credit, the elephant keeper, is completely unknown.
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