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"Gaetuli at Canna in miniature?" Topic

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2018 9:19 p.m. PST

*Title typo, that should be "Cannae".

How should this ethnic group in Hannibals army be depicted in miniatures? As Numidians or is there a better choice?


williamb17 Jun 2018 12:42 a.m. PST

Polybius, who is the main source for this period (he lived with the Scipio family when he was a hostage in Rome) does not mention the Gaetuli or Getulia/Gaetulia the region south of the Atlas mountains where they lived in his histories. Their first mention in Roman records is during the Juguthine war which was a century after Hannibal's campaigns. Where did you find mention of them being in Hannibal's army at Cannae? The area where they lived varied and the clothing they wore would probably depended on which tribe and location they lived in.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2018 5:45 p.m. PST

I'll have to recheck. I was combing a number of websites last nite.

GurKhan18 Jun 2018 12:41 a.m. PST

According to Sallust, before the war with Jugurtha the Gaetuli were "ignorant of the Roman name", so if he's correct they can't have had contact with Rome in Hannibal's day a century earlier. This seems to rule out anything more than a scattering of individual adventurers in the Carthaginian army.

"The Gaetulians are described as men of a warlike disposition and savage manners, living on milk and flesh, clothed with skins" – Varro (de lingua latina) quoted at link

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

Of course I can't find the original Web page with the info but iirc it had them listed as 5 or 8,000 foot Berbers from the Gaetulian tribe.

I don't own the Osprey book so I'd be interested to see if they just have them listed as Numidian foot.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 5:19 p.m. PST

This is not the original site that I had seen but this also mentions the Berber infantry present at Cannae:


ether drake Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 7:31 p.m. PST

Perhaps the OP saw mention of Gaetuli on the Wikipedia page which in turn references Greg Daly's Cannae. There is a section on Gaetuli therein:

"The Gaetulians lived to the south of the Numidians and Moors, on and to the south of the Atlas mountains, and were also of Libyco-Berber stock. There were three tribal groups of Gaetulians, according to Pliny, who is doubtless simplifying things immensely: the Autoteles in the west; the Baniurae in the east, and the Nesimi in the desert south of the Atlas mountains (Plin., Nat. Hist. 5.17; Law, 1978, p. 143). The only mention of Gaetulians in Hannibal's army is a reference by Livy to Hannibal sending an advance party of Gaetulians under an officer called Isalcas to the town of Casilinum in 216 (Liv. 23.18). No indication is given as to the size of this unit, but the fact that he expected it to be able, if necessary, to storm the town, may suggest that there were more Gaetulians in this advance party than their almost complete absence from the sources might otherwise imply. Gaetulian cavalry, which, like their Numidian counterparts, lacked bridles, seem to have been quite effective, if their presence in later Roman armies is anything to go by (e.g. Caes., B Afr 32, 56, 61). Presumably they were armed and fought in a fashion almost identical to the Numidians, which would explain why Polybius never mentions them, having simply classed them as Numidians." (Daly: 94)

Perhaps Duncan has thoughts on much weight to grant Livy on this.

You're probably fine using Numidians.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 10:43 p.m. PST

Numidians it is!

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