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Author Topic: Republican Romans vs Carthage batrep  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Easy E

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Re: Republican Romans vs Carthage batrep
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2020, 04:59:09 PM »
Well, it seemed like it was a bit of confusion about Xanthipuus' reforms and what "Macedonian" style actually meant.  The old view was that they must have been pike armed like phalangites.  However, the more modern view is that "Macedonain" style simply means a combined arms approach using cavalry, heavy infantry, light infantry, and elephants together. 

It is nice from a wargamer perspecitve to have a Carthaginian Sacred band armed with Pikes to give the Carthaginians an extra bit of Umpf.  However, it is likely that such a unit did not actually exist.  We get to flavor it to taste though!   
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Offline FierceKitty

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Re: Republican Romans vs Carthage batrep
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2020, 12:51:11 AM »
OK, let's give our Sacred Bands BAR for the same reasons.... lol
The laws of probability do not apply to my dice in wargames or to my finesses in bridge.

Offline AdamPHayes

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Re: Republican Romans vs Carthage batrep
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2020, 11:02:01 AM »
I think it is always a mistake to assume we know exactly the composition of an ancient army, we are frequently working with quite limited information. The Carthaginians in particular are recorded through the lens of hostile Roman accounts and their largely successful efforts to eliminate the entire culture.  As wargames we have the job of filling in the composition of an army where the information is absent or very sketchy; we cannot just leave part of a battle line empty! Mostly this means we go with the most likely option or the nearest parallel that we do know about. This does however leave room to legitimately field in our miniature armies a certain amount of “maybes” or “what-ifs” as additional colour.

The idea of pikemen in the Carthaginian army is not supported by any solid evidence, certainly the idea of a Macedonian phalanx at Zama seems unlikely (for a start the Romans would have lost 😀) However, earlier Punic armies did contain a fair number of Greek mercenaries, who is to say some of them were not early adopters of the Macedonian style equipment. Most hoplite style soldiers did evolve into either pike users or into thureophoroi (whatever they actually were...) So, if someone rocks up with a Carthaginian army that has wall to wall pikes I would be annoyed but just a few units? No problem.

(Nice game report btw, those First Corps Romans look great en masse.)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 11:04:45 AM by AdamPHayes »

Offline Easy E

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Re: Republican Romans vs Carthage batrep
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2020, 02:42:30 PM »
OK, let's give our Sacred Bands BAR for the same reasons.... lol

Well, to be fair there is an academic debate about just what is meant by 'Macedonian" style in Xanthippus' reforms of the Carthaginian army.  The consensus is combined arms, but for a long time scholars did not believe that.  Therefore, older ranges/army lists of Carthaginians forces make sense to have Phalangites as a limited unit type. 

Secondly, we know a few things about the Carthaginian military: 

1. They were not above stealing a good idea.  After all, in Sicily they decided to adopt the Greek Hoplite formation after seeing its effectiveness at the battle of Himera.  Or so the legend goes. 

2. The Macedonian Phalanx was a very popular military formation in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Therefore, the Carthaginians probably had been exposed to it in their travels and via their trade routes.

3. They used Mercenaries heavily after the Sicilian Wars and Greek Hoplites and Macedonian Phalangites were known mercenaries.   

That being said, there is little evidence that the Carthaginians "Adopted" this approach, but ancient history has huge gaps in it where the only real answer is.... we just do not know.  Currently, the scholarly consensus does not support the idea, but new evidence may change "current" thinking.   

On a related note, the idea that Carthage heavily used "Mercenaries" maybe an overstatement.  After all, what Rome called Mercenaries may have been troops from Allied client kingdoms (Like Numidians), subject people such as North Africans, and allied tribes (such as Iberians and Gauls).  To call them all "Mercenary" is probably a gross over-simplification of the structure of the Punic armies.  The Carthaginian army was probably no more 'Merceanry" than a Roman army.  However, I digress as that is a topic for another post and time.