Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Carthago renatus est! Part 2 - Cavalry, etc

When you think of Carthage, who doesn't think of Elephants?  I sure do! These are Minifigs, as is the bulk of my Carthaginian army. 

In reality they were a fairly minor aspect of the Carthaginian military, but I still built a large Elephant Corps for them, as seen above. Certainly Hannibal's greatest use of them, at the Battle of Zama, was also his biggest defeat. 

We now believe that the elephants used by Carthage were largely or exclusively the smaller, now extinct African Forrest Elephant, and that howdahs were not used. At the same time, countless images over the centuries have depicted them this way, so who am I to argue?

Portly posteriors of the ponderous pachyderms!

On the other hand, these rather plain looking troops are the famous Numidian (light) cavalry.

They were central to many of Hannibal's victories, and when the bulk of them switched sides, again at the Battle of Zama, the results were anything but good for Carthage

I made a crude "Leopardskin" cape for the Leader from paper. I got the idea from one of Charlie Sweet's Numidian units! I actually need more of these guys; surprisingly, many 25/28mm manufacturers don't seem to make them, plain as they are!

"Spanish" (Celtiberian) Light Cavalry.

Once again wearing white tunics with purple borders, and red-brown leather boots. 

The finely cast, slender  javelins have taken some wear over the past 30 years. I actually have 2 more figures of these troops who were AWOL during the photo session!

Cisalpine Gallic cavalry.

Their yellow tunics were evidently typical.

... as were the striped and checked cloaks. I had more patience painting these patterns back when, it seems!

"Spanish" (Celtiberian) Medium Cavalry. The dress of these fellows is rather similar to that of the Scutarius with their long black cloaks. 

Once again the purple and white tunics and leather boots. 

These Minifigs are cast with short lances more than spears; it's debatable if they were actually used in that fashion, though. 

Liby-Phoenician Heavy Cavalry.

These nice figures are by Ral Partha.

Yes, there actually is fairly heavy shading on their red cloaks. 

Carthaginian Noble Heavy Cavalry. 

Probably few in number, along with the Numidians, these were the creme de la creme of the Carthaginian cavalry arm!

"And their squadrons were gleaming in Purple and Gold..."

Finally, a Potpourri of Minifigs Balistae, Hannibal himself, and some Eureka Gallic leader figures.

 I definitely need more leaders and heroes for To the Strongest!

The Eureka figures are full of action, aren't they? 

Here's the entire army on the table, deployed for battle. 

Attempting more of a Cannae, it seems, despite having the Elephants out in front a la Zama!

A view from the rear.

Carthago renatus est! (Carthage is restored). 
Of course, using the language of the victors might be a clue as to who really won the 1st, 2nd,  and 3rd Punic Wars!


  1. Very fine Carthaginian collection, Peter! Impressive when all arrayed for battle. I like your brushwork on the Numidian leaders leopard cape.

    As for history, I prefer my elephants with howdah!

    1. Thanks, Jon. The cape, relatively basic as it is, was fun to paint. IIRC, a carved the end of a wooden stick and used it almost like a stamp to make the "spots".

      Obviously I am in your camp with regards to Howdahs!

  2. What a great and famous army! Love your pachyderms line of battle and what you've done on the cloaks...

  3. A lovely load of cavalry and lots of great elephants, obviously I'm with you re howdahs , we aren't making a documentary are we ? So we are allowed a bit of licence surely. Best Iain

    1. Thanks, Iain. Yes, I agree that wargaming, as I see it, is more a kin to Hollywood movie making than a documentary. The most enjoyable wargames tell a story, and artistic license is almost required at times in scenario design, terrain, and the figures we use.

  4. Quite impressive. I've always thought that the Carthaginian army had loads of colour... and you've proved it!

    1. Thanks, John. The figures are probably considerably more colorful than historical reality, given both how little detail we really know about their costume, and the nature of the vegetable dyes in use at the time. Still, I make no apologies for same! :-)

  5. What an interesting and colorful collection.


    1. Thanks, John, glad you enjoyed them. I tend to collect the Ancient armies I find historically and/or Tactically interesting, and Carthage is surely near the top of that list.

  6. Great to see Minifgs still looking the part

  7. Thanks, Garry. I think they've held up well over the years, and have no plans to replace them!

  8. As for the elephants, as far as I have understood, the closest cousin of African forest elephant that once lived in northern Africa in large numbers now lives in Congo basin (apparently really long time ago, little sand box developed between Atlas mountains and the rainforests in the south, trapping many species in the Atlas mountain region). Apparently they are quite similar in size and statue. Anyways, the point of this probably is that even the "smaller" forest elephant is well capable of pulling trees off, and is quite large if one stands next to one. They are after all some third largest mammals.

    What then comes to howdahs, there were many structures and albeit the medieval castle like is probably most commonly depicted in wargaming world, they might have had structures that enabled a crew of few people or so to ride, and might not have been exactly heavy. On a side note, I do not think that Carthaginians much cared about the injuries cased to the spines of the animals anyway.

    End result is that perhaps the howdahs did exist, but the representation as a castle is somewhat more elaborate than the reality.

    1. Thanks for the Elephant update; interesting!