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Onward and Upward - Carthaginian reenacting
#1
Paullus suggested in the Cannae thread that the subject of a Carthaginian impression might make an interesting thread so I have started one up. 8)

At a recent Legio XX event during the course of conversation the subject of elephant rides was brought up and all those involved in the conversation agreed that if we ever attended an event where someone was offering elephant rides then at least one of us would have to put together a Carthaginian impression.

While the odds of us participating in an event where the organizers have arranged for elephant rides probably are not very good, however, I decided that was no reason to not put together a Carthaginian impression!

Paullus posed the following in a previous post:

Quote:What era ? Carthaginian Hoplite from the wars in Sicily ? or later ? Assuming you mean Hannibal's war, Gaul, Spaniard, Celt-Iberian,African? Greek mercenary? Italian mercenary ? ( sub-types: Samnite, Lucanian, Bruttian ? )
African in native equipment or after the adoption of captured Roman equipment ?
You've opened a can of worms worthy of its own thread ! !
How about doing it ??( assuming you mean heavy infantry) - there's plenty of room for speculation, and differing opinion, which RATters thrive on !!

To narrow things down a bit, I was thinking of choosing a soldier from Hannibal's war. For starters, this is the Punic War most people are familiar with - even if they only have a vague notion of "some guy who marched some elephants over some mountain range to fight someone else" :roll: Another good thing about this era is that it will tie in nicely during our Roman Days event with the Samnite and Celtic reenactors.

Relatively speaking I am already well on my way to having the kit for a Spanish caetrati - I already have a falcata and a small round buckler so all I would need to buy/make/borrow is...the rest of the kit: a white tunic edged in scarlet/purple, the proper foot gear, a wide belt, and a "sinew" cap or a helmet. Yes, a helmet is stretch but I doubt I would be able to find sinew wide enough to make a cap...not to mention I find the idea rather unappealing. I suppose I could always make one out of thin leather.

One of my reenacting projects that I have been working on, more on and off to be honest, is a quilted linothorax which I think would do quite nicely for a Carthaginian heavy infantryman prior to the point at which they re-equipped themselves with Roman armor. As I understand it from the paucity of knowledge I have found so far on native Carthaginian troops, the members of the Carthaginian phalanx were equipped in a Hellenistic fashion at the beginning of the Second Punic War. This seems to mean they wore some sort of light armor, some sort of helmet, a round shield, had some sort of sword along with a pike or a spear.

Any thoughts?
Dan Zeidler
Legio XX
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#2
Two more interesting aspects of portraying Carthage are the shield emblems and unit standards.

When I first started looking into this I came across a web site the had a picture of a Carthaginian coin which portrayed a ship with a battle standard on the deck. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark the page or save a copy of the picture and naturally now I cannot find it again. It was a fairly basic standard though - a disk topped by a crescent with its concave side facing up. The standard also had two streamers which I believe were attached to either tip of the crescent.

The only other representations of standards that I have found come from websites dealing with Carthaginian shield emblems. The standard on these sites is very similar to the one I mentioned above, but beneath the large disk is a smaller disk which is itself resting on top of a small crescent with its concave side pointed down. A very similar look to a signum.

Two other very common symbols are: a circle resting inside a crescent on top of a triangle, and a sort of stick figure with a triangular body with its arms pointed upwards. The second one, which apparently is a symbol for the Carthaginian goddess Tanit, bears a striking resemblance to some of the Mycenean female figurines. There are, of course, only so many ways one can stylize a human female figure so the similarity could very well be a coincidence rather than any sort of cultural influence. At any rate, the first symbol could very easily made a standard with the individual elements attached to a staff while the second I see as being more something that would be painted or embroidered onto another surface which would in turn be attached to a staff. I have not seen an pictures that show this though so making standards based on those two symbols would be wild conjecture.

Using them as shield emblems on the other hand is much more likely. The Carthaginian Sacred Band used the symbol of Tanit (patron goddess of Carthage, goddess of the Moon, of the harvest, and apparently of all manner of good things including Mom and Apple Pie) on their shields. They were players in the First Punic War however and not any of the subsequent wars.

Carthage also seemed to be rather fond of putting horses and palm trees on their coins and the miniature sites suggest that these too would make likely shield emblems.

The Carthaginian army was a Hellenistic style army so shield emblems common to other Hellenistic armies would most likely be found on Carthaginian shields as well.
Dan Zeidler
Legio XX
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#3
This does sound very intresting, but I just wonder how many things you'll be able to do this impression, if there were a group of people doing this it would be fantastic, but I think to be able to participate in re-enactments etc. you'd struggle with one person. I'm certainly not saying give up, as I think this is a brilliant idea Big Grin
Dave Bell/Secvndvs

Comitatus
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#4
Cut your tongue out, throw salt on your garden, take a bulldozer to your house, and work for bowls of porridge. That's what I call Carthaginian re-enacting :wink:
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#5
:lol: :lol:
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#6
HEHEHEHEHEHE
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#7
Beware, o mockers, lest Hannibal be ad your portas ! Smile
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#8
We are Batavians, wo dont have portas... We have balls of steel!!! Hundsmätta! :twisted: :twisted:
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#9
Well, in that case, beware Batavians, lest Hannibal be at your gates.......with an elephant to stomp those steel balls into tinplate !! :lol: Arrow
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#10
On a more serious note, Dan, looks like you're well on the way to a caetrati impression -well done ! With your Gaul and Samnite friends, you already have the nexus of a group ! And even if you didn't, there is now a thriving Republican Roman group here in Brisbane which began with one guy, who tagged on to the 1st century A.D group. At events, he got lots of questions, because his "kit" was different. Before too long, he was giving talks...others took an interest... and they were off !

As to a quintessential Carthaginian impression....anything that can be something else is out I guess - no "roman clones", spaniards, gauls, Italians, or greeks then.
That leaves an African - a Carthaginian officer, Liby-Phoenician or similar.... suggestions, people ?? The right gear is probably rarer than Hen's teeth !
And the elephant photo shoot is a great idea !! Do they still have nomadic circuses in the States ( they do here )? Are Barnum, Bailey and Ringling bros still around ? ( never mind that it's the wrong kind of elephant! ) If so, it shouldn't be too hard to arrange a co-operative photo shoot(you get some unique photos to promulgate, they get some priceless publicity ! )
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#11
P.S. Your caetrati impression could equally be bare-headed, or wear a helmet ( monefortino might be suitable, or a late Hellenistic ) as have the Hide helmet.
With the addition of a saunion (iron throwing weapon ) and a flat scutum and maybe a short spear you could swiftly transform from caetrati to scutarii
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#12
good
MNI Gioi u F**ckers Smile <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" />Smile
Remarks by Philip on the Athenian Leaders:
Philip said that the Athenians were like the bust of Hermes: all mouth and dick.
:lol: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" />:lol:
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#13
It is interesting, I think, how relatively easy it is to find information and depictions of Carthaginian mercenaries - Spanish, Gaulish, and Numidian troops - but aside from a few busts of Hannibal there is practically nothing for native Carthaginian troops.

Much the same is true of Carthage itself - most of ruins are Roman or later. Of the original city, a city that existed for some 600 to 700 years, there is virtually nothing left.

Even the elephants used by Carthage are extinct.

It speaks volumes as to the extent of Rome's military power that they were essentially able to erase the Carthaginians from the face the Earth, don't you think?

I read somewhere that one of the ancient historians, Polybius I think, refers to the Carthaginian phalanx as being a "light phalanx" and continues to do so even after they are reequipped with Roman armor. In theory then, the light designation might refer to the type of pike used by the phalanx rather than the armor in which case we might infer that the pikes used by Carthage were perhaps shorter than the pikes used by other phalanx armies at the time - perhaps something in the 12 to 15 foot range?

The sword possibilities are rather large in number - basically anything of a Greek, Spanish, or Celtic style.

Actually just by changing out a few items in the kit it would be possible to portray any one of a variety of troop types.

I already have a good start on a caetrati and as you mentioned Paullus if I added a helmet (a montefortino would be the best bet I think), a saunion (it would be nice to have one of those anyway), a spear, and a flat scutum I could be a scutarii. I could drop the scutum, the spear and the saunion and put on some linen armor, pick up a pike and a round shield and be a Carthaginian pikeman. I could put the pike down, maybe upgrade to metal armor, and be a Carthaginian officer.
Dan Zeidler
Legio XX
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#14
Quote:I read somewhere that one of the ancient historians, Polybius I think, refers to the Carthaginian phalanx as being a "light phalanx" and continues to do so even after they are reequipped with Roman armor. In theory then, the light designation might refer to the type of pike used by the phalanx rather than the armor in which case we might infer that the pikes used by Carthage were perhaps shorter than the pikes used by other phalanx armies at the time - perhaps something in the 12 to 15 foot range?

Whether Carthaginians used pikes at all is a controversial topic, though not one that I am well versed in.

For armour stuff, the Chemtou reliefs are your best source. They show several shield designs as well as cuirasses and (I think) helmets, and they are for the most part beautifully preserved. As it turns out, Carthaginian shield emblems were quite different from most other Hellenistic examples. I don't know of many pictures online, but you can see one shield here on this site (at the top of the page and above the menu on the left):

http://www.chimtou.com/

Keep in mind that the Carthaginians themselves seem to have been highly Hellenized- their helmets and cuirasses (weaponry, too, IIRC) are Hellenistic in nature and not Celtic other than the thureos which they did adopt.
Ruben

He had with him the selfsame rifle you see with him now, all mounted in german silver and the name that he\'d give it set with silver wire under the checkpiece in latin: Et In Arcadia Ego. Common enough for a man to name his gun. His is the first and only ever I seen with an inscription from the classics. - Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
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#15
Another controversial Carthaginian topic is whether or not they used fighting towers on their elephants or simply rode them like horses

I agree though - they could have used spears rather than pikes in the phalanx. I guess it would depend on how Hellenized their army was.

As to the armor, I believe there is a spectrum. On the one side you would have a very Hellenistic appearence - most likely Thracian helmets, quilted linen armor, Macedonian pelta type shields - while on the other side you would have a more Republican Roman appearence - Montefortino helmets, lorica hamata, and perhaps Republican scuta. The change of shield type would depend on the answer to the spear/pike question. The pike is a two handed weapon and the Cathaginian infantry woudl not have been able to use a scutum type shield if they were using pikes. At any rate, at the start of Hannibal's campaign his Carthaginians would have looked very Hellenistic, after he had been in Italy for a time then his troops would have looked very Roman, and during the times in between the appearence would have been somewhere in between as well I imagine.

When I mentioned the Celts before I was only talking about swords. The Carthaginians had a number of different sword types to choose from: the Hellenistic xiphos or kopis, the falcata, or Celt-Iberian type sword along the lines of the hispaniensis. It would have depended on where and when the sword was acquired.

I've seen that shield design or one very much like it when I was searching for shield emblems. There are companies who make shield decals for wargaming miniatures who based some of their designs off the shield emblems from Chemtou. The only catch with those is that they might be Numidian rather than Carthaginian. All the designs do have a distinctive look and feel to them though.
Dan Zeidler
Legio XX
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