Carthage was originally a settlement of Phoenician colonists. Carthage grew into a large economic power throughout the Mediterranean Sea, accumulating wealth and influence. Carthage was a contemporary superpower with the Roman Republic of the 2nd and 3rd Century BC, and was its rival for dominance of the western Mediterranean. After Pyrrhus left Sicily and Italy he known to have declared that he left an interesting battleground for the Carthaginians and Romans behind him. Carthage expanded from it's capital in North Africa towards Southern Spain and Sicily. Rome set it's eyes on Sicily and Northern Spain at the same time.
Eventually the rivalry between the states led to a series of wars known as the Punic Wars, in which a series of losses led to a decline in Carthage's political and economic strength, mostly due to the harsh penalties imposed on Carthage by Rome as conditions of the cessation of hostilities. Though the Carthaginians nearly destroyed Rome itself, when Hannibal crossed the alps with his mercenary army and came to a few kilometres from Rome itself. But after a decade in Italy he never managed to break the Roman power, or completely loosen the ties with it's Italian Allies.
The third and final Punic war ended with the
complete destruction of the city of Carthage and the annexation of the last
remnants of Carthaginian territory by Rome. Although a distinct Carthaginian
civilization ceased to exist, remnants of it contributed to later Mediterranean
The core troops
There is an ongoing discussion if the Carthaginian army used the phalanx. It certainly did in the early days. But during the second Punic War they most likely took over the Roman tactics. Hannibal even dressed his own soldiers in the armour they took from the beaten Roman legions.
Hannibals Veterans from A&A Miniatures and from Gripping Beast.
The Punic Heavy Cavalry
Hannibal used mostly Numidian, Celtic & Spanish cavalry. But the Cartaginians also had their own heavy Cavalry units.
Old Glory Punic cavalry with Carthaginian high command
The Light Infantry
There is always a discussion about the colour of the tunics the soldiers wore in antiquity. Many argue that they were mostly off-white. Colours were to expensive for the common soldier. I have some points against the white-siders:
Bearing this in mind, I painted the light infantry with basic brown, beige and grey colours. But my heavy (veteran) infantry are proudly wearing their RED tunics!
1st Corps Punic light infantry with Punic command group
Epirus is said to be the first country to place a Howdah on their elephants. It is not sure the Carthaginians did. However they had fought against Pyrrhus of Epirus in Sicily and thus must have known about the Howdah.
Some say the African Elephant was not large or strong enough to carry a tower. But in Bellum Africanum is a fierce battle in North Africa in 64 BC reported between Juba's African elephants and Caesars soldiers:
But, be honest: you need towers to really impress your opponent...
A converted toy elephant I "took" from my 2 years old son.
Carthaginian allies do not fight for Carthage automatically. Every turn you roll a dice. As long as you keep rolling a 6, the unit will refuse to fight. To represent this, you can place the command group in front of the unit facing the enemy with their backs. Or place a (red) coloured coin in front of the unit. I usually place green coins behind warband units to remind me of their special rules.
Numidian cavalry & infantry
Hannibal made effective use of the light Numidian Cavalry. Thought not very effective in close combat against more heavily armed opponents, they are very well suited for delaying and harassing the enemy.
Old Glory Numidian cavalry & infantry
Celtic warband & Numidian skirmishers
The Carthaginians always used lots of Celtic allies and/or mercenaries. They were always a bit uncontrollable, and tended to easily switch sides. In the first Punic War a Celtic tribe that planned to desert to the Romans were slaughtered by the Romans, when the Carthaginians leaked to the Romans that they were not deserting, but planning an attack on the Romans! In WAB the low leadership, warband rule and allies and mercenaries rule (they only joint the battle after first throwing a 6 on a D6 at the start of the turn) makes them a colourful (read: look nice but are not worth a penny) part of your army.
Black Tree and A&A Celtic warriors and Old Glory Numidians (above) and unknown (below)
Both the Romans and the Carthaginians used a lot of Spanish and Celtiberian allies.
Beast Spanish Scuttarii (above)
Even after a series of devastating victories (Trebbia, Lake Trasimene, Cannae), Hannibal never really got between the Romans and their Italian allies. But he included units of Italians in his army after Cannae.
Old Glory Italian Oscans equipped with Wargames Foundy Roman shields
See also www.richardevers.nl for information about the novel I wrote about the life of Hannibal.