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"Victrix Warriors of Carthage review" Topic


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1,318 hits since 19 Sep 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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ether drake Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2016 11:38 p.m. PST

As part of my effort to blog my Second Punic Wars project I'm also writing reviews of the figures I'm putting together.

Here's the first one on Victrix's Warriors of Carthage set that covers Libyan spearmen, Hannibal's Libyan veterans and Libyan javelinmen.

link

GurKhan20 Sep 2016 1:15 a.m. PST

"Head talks of recessed shields used by Carthaginians, so I find it odd that in an otherwise faithful rendition, Victrix recycles their convex Greek hoplite shields here."

Don't worry – I don't think I believe in the recessed shields any more, I think that (originally Peter Connolly's idea) was a misinterpretation of the Chemtou relief. Plenty of conventional hoplite shields in Punic art.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2016 1:56 a.m. PST

Was the misinterpreted shield the one with a gorgon's head on sheepskin?

Could you point to some links of the conventional shields?

McWong7320 Sep 2016 3:26 a.m. PST

I'd be grateful for the comparison pics with A&A and Crusader. Thanks for sharing.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2016 4:51 a.m. PST

@McWong No problem. I'll share it here once they arrive in the post.

GurKhan20 Sep 2016 6:09 a.m. PST

"Was the misinterpreted shield the one with a gorgon's head on sheepskin?"

All the round Chemtou shields, of which that is one. For exampe, the eye shield at the top of page of chimtou.com

"Could you point to some links of the conventional shields?"

The ones I was thinking of primarily don't seem to be online (the seals in Berges, D, W Erhardt, A Laidlaw, and F Rakob, "Karthago, Band II: Die Deutschen Ausgrabungen in Karthago", von Zabern, Mainz, 1997, for example). Unless the Classical Phoenician Scarabs ( link ) are Punic after all.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2016 7:51 a.m. PST

Hah. I totally overlooked that one at Chimtou. The central dome portion could be described as "recessed", but Connolly/Head and Heath clearly went too far in depicting it as concave.

This is apparently a depiction of Carthaginian spoils on a Syracusan coin. Shows a Greek shield: link

The other link you posted seems to have a Carthaginian coin with a Greek aspis at 28/51 and possibly at 28/58-28/59.

GurKhan20 Sep 2016 9:05 a.m. PST

"Connolly/Head and Heath clearly went too far"

Ah, that Head chap. Unreliable b*gg*r. :-)

Yes, I've seen the suggestion that the trophy is Carthaginian spoils: d'Amato used it in one of the Osprey reconstructions, for one. It might be, certainly. Could always be Greek mercenary gear, of course.

"The other link you posted seems to have a Carthaginian coin with a Greek aspis…"

They're scarabs, not coins:"Carthage" is the findspot. The main problem with these is that while they've been traditionally regarded as Punic, Boardman sees the whole corpus as homeland Phoenician exports. The second problem is how far they're accurate depictions of anything, as opposed to fanciful artistry: I don't really believe in the satyr-shield at 28/2 (though d'Amato does); if so, am I entitled to use any of the others as representational evidence? I'm inclined to think that if there is a lot of art with Greek hoplite shields from Punic sites, and little or no indication of any _other_ infantry shield-types, then that's a good enough indication that they _probably_ used hoplite shields.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2016 11:08 a.m. PST

Good review – thanks for posting

Mithridates Inactive Member20 Sep 2016 3:23 p.m. PST

Earlier post affected by the bug!

Thanks for the review – never had dimples myself but surprised as Victrix quality control seems good. Yet to assemble and paint my chaps so review was timely.

Duncan Head revised his earlier views on Punic spears in a Slingshot article (2004).

Hopefully some spare North African command figures by Relic Miniatures will flesh out the Libyans to 2 x 8.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2016 11:37 p.m. PST

@GurKhan Fair points. As a major trade centre, all kinds of stuff from all kinds of places could be found in Carthage. I always assumed they imported most of their military kit from Greek producers. Is that reasonable? I've not read up on ancient trade and production in the Med.

@Mithridates Welcome. I've got dimples on at least two different Victrix sets. Not major thankfully. Probably resolved with some plasticene. I'll look up that Slingshot article when my Slingshot compilation DVD arrives. The first one went missing in the post. Hope the second makes it through. Does Head revise his views to say that they used long spears like the Greek doru?

Marshal Mark20 Sep 2016 11:57 p.m. PST

Nice review of the Carthaginian figures, Ether. It doesn't look like you realise this, but Gurkhan is Duncan Head. So you can ask him directly :)

GurKhan21 Sep 2016 1:26 a.m. PST

"As a major trade centre, all kinds of stuff from all kinds of places could be found in Carthage. I always assumed they imported most of their military kit from Greek producers. Is that reasonable? I've not read up on ancient trade and production in the Med."

By the end of the Carthaginian state, they had a substantial arms industry in the city, making their own gear: look at Strabo's and Appian's accounts of the Third Roman War, and the production rates when they re-armed. And Livy suggests substantial arms production in New Carthage in the Second War. I'm not sure how far that's true earlier on.

"Does Head revise his views to say that they used long spears like the Greek doru?"

Not explicitly in that article, as far as I recall, but I do now have doubts about the "short spear" argument, since it's partly based on Picard's descriptions of "unpublished stelae" which still haven't turned up. I suspect Punic hoplites used Greek-style hoplite spears.

The issue of whether the Africans were still hoplites anyway by the start of Second Roman War is an entirely different question :-)

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2016 8:10 a.m. PST

@Marshal Mark Hah! The joke's on me then. :)

@GurKhan / Mr Head Pleased to make your acquaintance! Your book has been a treasure and fond companion.

On Africans as hoplites or something else… yes, a big question. The conflicts in this period clearly seem to drive considerable adaptation in arms and tactics. I'm just reading through material by Fernando Quesada-Sanz and it seems to me that transformation in the arms of the Iberian warriors seem quite considerable around this period and hard to pin down with much precision.

GurKhan22 Sep 2016 1:38 a.m. PST

It was partly Quesada's suggestion that the Iberians adopted the oval shield from the Carthaginians that led me to look again at Carthaginian armament. But the evidence is so sparse as to make any firm conclusions quite difficult.

ether drake Supporting Member of TMP22 Sep 2016 5:02 a.m. PST

I was taking a look at the line drawings of the rear of the Chimtou altar today. The array of linothorax and theuros would suggest a theurophoroi-type get up for the later Punic warriors, would it not? Or at least a mix of theuros and aspis if one takes into account the round shields you pointed out earlier.

Do you still hold to the grip of the Iberian scutum being vertical as opposed to horizontal?

GurKhan22 Sep 2016 5:31 a.m. PST

Well, we know that the Carthaginians adopted the oval shield at _some_ stage, because Appian and Strabo mention it for the Third Roman War. (There's a figure in that gear in AMPW.) And if Chemtou _does_ indeed represent trophies of Punic equipment, then they would probably be from the Third War. But one of the things I mention in the new Foreword to the reprinted AMPW is that the sheer size of the oval shields from Chemtou suggests something closer to Roman scuta: so we may be dealing with "imitation legionaries" by that point.

As for the round shields, I'm now wondering if they're cavalry gear. Or some of them – there actually look to be two sizes of round shield. (There is of course a view that the Chemtou carvings are standard Hellenistic artistic motifs that don't directly represent any real Punic equipment.)

No strong opinion now on Iberian scuta-grips, I'd need to look at the evidence again. At least one vase suggests an X-shaped grip, presumably two crossing straps.

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