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Carthaginian Warrior 264-146 BC [Paperback]

Nic Fields , Steve Noon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Sep 2010
By the outbreak of the First Carthaginian War, Carthage controlled the whole coast of northern Africa. At first, the core of the Carthaginian armies was made up of armed citizens, backed by levies from tributary allies and foreign mercenaries. Later, the mercenaries would become the backbone of these armies. This book explores the heterogeneous mixture of races within the Carthaginian forces, and discusses their clothing, equipment and weaponry. It details their tactical deployment and covers the campaign experiences of the great general Hannibal, who inflicted a number of defeats on Rome, before his eventual defeat at the battle of Zama in 202 BC.

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Carthaginian Warrior 264-146 BC + Armies of the Carthaginian Wars, 265-146 B.C. (Men-at-Arms) + Roman Republican Legionary 298-105 BC (Warrior)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (10 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846039584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846039584
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.3 x 0.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 545,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Great illustration by Steve Noon allied to a no-nonsense text you might expect from an impressively qualified historian like Nic Fields. His attention to detail and economy with words combines will with his ability to bring ancient history alive for us throughout. --Miniature Wargames

About the Author

Dr. Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in south-west France.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good Osprey on the Carthaginian armies 29 April 2014
By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another Osprey title on Carthaginian armies, but this time in the Warrior series and with coverage limited to the time of the Punic Wars.

The contents are somewhat similar to the more recent title just published by Salimbeti, d’Amato and Rava, although they are also a number of interesting differences that make the two titles complementary rather than redundant.

This title, in particular, insists upon what it meant to be a mercenary soldier and barely scraping a living with pay which was at best irregular and allowances for food which were barely sufficient. It also shows how and why Carthage, which at least initially seems to have relied on an army made up of first-class (the Carthaginians from Carthage) and second-class citizens (the levies of the so-called “Libyan-Phoenicians” subjects or “Africans”) switched to an army made up almost entirely of levies from subjects and mercenaries from around the Mediterranean, except for the senior officers and some of the heavy cavalry. Nic Fields clearly outlines the main reasons, which were about economics with the Carthaginians conducting war like a business and wanting to preserve their citizens’ lives which anyway were not very numerous and may have been largely used to make up the crews of the fleet.

Another merit of this title is to devote quite a lot of space to discussing the recruitment, the living conditions and the mentality and psychology of these mercenaries, as far as we can grasp these elements. One particularly interesting insight is to show to what extent these professional soldiers’ loyalty would go to their comrades in arms and, to the extent that they were both competent and charismatic, to their leaders, as evidenced with the Barcas (but also by a few others).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long overdue title arrives 16 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thankfully, a relative wealth of knowledge about Rome and its armies has come down to us today. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Carthage and its military. It is no surprise, therefore, that textbooks about Carthaginian soldiers are as rare as hen's teeth. There simply isn't much information to be had. Frustrating, but there it is.

In my opinion, this new volume from Osprey does well in laying out what is known in a presentable, understandable way. We are told the reasons for Carthage's armies being made up primarily of levies or mercenaries rather than citizens. The areas from which the soldiers came. Their weapons, equipment food and pay. What made a man become a mercenary, and what it might have been like.

As ever in Osprey books, the illustrations (by Steve Noon) are excellent. The picture on the cover, of the Spartan general Xanthippos addressing his Carthaginian troops, is particularly good. It's a shame that there weren't more! For those who are interested, there are some excellent illustrations of Carthaginian soldiers in Warfare in the Classical World, which is a top class text in itself.

My only gripe with this volume was that it felt frustrating reading about Carthaginian soldiers under the various heading of weapons, equipment etc. rather than giving each class of soldier their own section which would have described everything about that particular type of warrior.

Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good reference book. 11 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback
This entry in Osprey's Warrior series looks at the armies of Carthage during the long Punic Wars, a period that saw half a century of war between Rome and Carthage, as well as conflicts in Spain and a dangerous mercenary rebellion on Carthage's home ground.

Fields covers a wide range of topics, from the constitution of Carthage to the daily diet of her soldiers, and how they were recruited, trained and equipped.

Carthage fought a long series of wars against the Greeks of Sicily in which the citizens of Carthage played a major part, but by the start of the First Punic War and the period covered by this book Carthage's armies were almost entirely made up of mercenaries and allies, with strong contingents from Africa and Iberia. As a result this book has to cover quite a lot of ground, looking at the individual fighting skills and tactics of many different ethnic groups.

This offering is probably best used as a reference book to a more in depth work on the Punic Wars or other conflicts involving Carthage, providing the sort of background information that is often missing in narrative histories of the wars.

The colour plates by Steve noon are superb, complemented by excellent colour photos and an interesting strong flowing narrative by Nic Fields. Recommended.

The perfect companion to this fine work is the ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long overdue title arrives 18 Nov 2010
By Ben Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Thankfully, a relative wealth of knowledge about Rome and its armies has come down to us today. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Carthage and its military. It is no surprise, therefore, that textbooks about Carthaginian soldiers are as rare as hen's teeth. There simply isn't much information to be had. Frustrating, but there it is.

In my opinion, this new volume from Osprey does well in laying out what is known in a presentable, understandable way. We are told the reasons for Carthage's armies being made up primarily of levies or mercenaries rather than citizens. The areas from which the soldiers came. Their weapons, equipment food and pay. What made a man become a mercenary, and what it might have been like.

As ever in Osprey books, the illustrations (by Steve Noon) are excellent. The picture on the cover, of the Spartan general Xanthippos addressing his Carthaginian troops, is particularly good. It's a shame that there weren't more! For those who are interested, there are some excellent illustrations of Carthaginian soldiers in Warfare in the Classical World, which is a top class text in itself. In my opinion, it's also necessary to read Armies of the Carthaginian Wars.

My only gripe with this volume was that it felt frustrating reading about Carthaginian soldiers under the various heading of weapons, equipment etc. rather than giving each class of soldier their own section which would have described everything about that particular type of warrior.

Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At Carthage's service...their warriors and mercenaries 17 Feb 2011
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've never read a book from Dr. Nic Fields that I didn't liked. He always has interesting points of view, clear analyses, excellent pictures of artifacts and modern reconstructions and naturally this "Carthaginian Warrior" have all those qualities. But in this book Dr. Fields faced an insurmountable challenge - there is almost no information on THE Carthaginian warrior...so he chose to focus on the Carthaginian army instead, and their mercenaries that composed the majority of military manpower of Carthage.

So this isn't like most other warrior titles that focus on a "warrior" class or type. Just for example, in the roman army there are books for the Roman legionary, late roman infantryman, Roman Cavalryman, Auxiliary soldier...there is no Roman Warrior with everything compacted, it focus on each individually. Another example, there is no Irish medieval warrior...but there are Galloglass (and hopefully in the future, maybe Kern and cavalryman).

So this book details the Carthaginian army as a whole and the reader gets a clear picture of the changes in the military through the history of the City, specially the focus change from militia to mercenaries after serious debacles against Greeks.
Interesting as this book is, most information applies to all who used Celts, Iberian, Balearic or Greek mercenaries - very few sources supplied on those warriors are specific to the Carthaginian army, and if you read the other Osprey books you probably already know much that it's written in this work. The same happens with nutrition, appearance and experience of battle, most data is quite generic and it applies as easily to Carthaginians, Greeks or Romans.

Although the author isn't naive and knows the flaws of mercenary units in questions of loyalty, he as a strong belief that mercenaries had better morale and where better prepared to face battle psychologically and physically than citizen soldiers. I believe that the actual experience of each soldier and unit is what really matters, not mattering that he is a "professional" or "amateur". For example, a roman legionary is a citizen soldier, but usually hardened by labour and many campaigns...probably much more than most mercenaries employed by the Carthaginians! And unless really well led, by Xanthipus or Hannibal for example, Carthaginian were usually trashed in combat against Romans. Citizens beating easily mercs - contradicts the authors point. Obviously a mercenary probably has more chances to be involved in conflict then most citizens, but that's not exactly true to many societies in which most male members are also warriors (there are no relevant differences in fighting skill IMHO from a mercenary gaul who fights for Carthage in Africa, and a "citizen-soldier" Gaul that fights his neighbors, Germans and Romans). Also related to Mercenaries discipline, I believe that Greek mercs were really disciplined and unit trained, I don't believe the same applied to Iberian or Gaulish Mercs - so the point of better discipline shouldn't be related to mercenaries as a whole.

Another side-issue: in page 56 Dr. Fields shows pictures of beautiful Spanish swords identifying one as a Kopis and the other as a Falcata; but the one identified as a Kopis is a Falcata (I'm aware that falcata is a "modern" term; again the Machaira/Kopis/Falcata issue). You can see the artifact in the Museo Arqueologico Nacional in Madrid, or if you can't visit it see their online catalog - They're both in the permanent exhibit and both are classified as Falcata. If you read Spanish or Portuguese please consider the book of one of the leading experts in Iberian Weapons "Armas de la Antigua Iberia - De Tartessos a Numancia" from Prof Fernando Quesada Sanz.

Very good book, but I can't finish this review without humbling myself before the fabulous Steve Noon and his color plates. They are the very best quality I've seen - Mr. Noon, I'm waiting for an art book. The realism, the lighting, the well imagined and dramatic scenes and events, the emotions in the faces of the depicted men! Just great!!! My favorites are "The mutineers make demands, Libyan War 240 bc", "Xantiphus addresses the troops, 255bc Tunis", "Street Fighting, Carthage 146 bc". Thank you for the art (also thanks to Dr. Nic Fields that probably helped with the choice of the events and gave information about appearance, weapons and armour).

Highly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another (mostly good) Osprey on the Carthaginian armies 29 April 2014
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is another Osprey title on Carthaginian armies, but this time in the Warrior series and with coverage limited to the time of the Punic Wars.

The contents are somewhat similar to the more recent title just published by Salimbeti, d’Amato and Rava, although they are also a number of interesting differences that make the two titles complementary rather than redundant.

This title, in particular, insists upon what it meant to be a mercenary soldier and barely scraping a living with pay which was at best irregular and allowances for food which were barely sufficient. It also shows how and why Carthage, which at least initially seems to have relied on an army made up of first-class (the Carthaginians from Carthage) and second-class citizens (the levies of the so-called “Libyan-Phoenicians” subjects or “Africans”) switched to an army made up almost entirely of levies from subjects and mercenaries from around the Mediterranean, except for the senior officers and some of the heavy cavalry. Nic Fields clearly outlines the main reasons, which were about economics with the Carthaginians conducting war like a business and wanting to preserve their citizens’ lives which anyway were not very numerous and may have been largely used to make up the crews of the fleet.

Another merit of this title is to devote quite a lot of space to discussing the recruitment, the living conditions and the mentality and psychology of these mercenaries, as far as we can grasp these elements. One particularly interesting insight is to show to what extent these professional soldiers’ loyalty would go to their comrades in arms and, to the extent that they were both competent and charismatic, to their leaders, as evidenced with the Barcas (but also by a few others).

Then there are the plates, for which I had somewhat mixed feelings, unlike some other reviewers. I loved the one showing Xanthippus boosting his fellow mercenary troops’ morale. I very much liked the Carthaginian conscript citizen, of the type raised by Hannibal just before Zama to make up the numbers, or the Spanish caetrati and the Oscan mercenary, although it is somewhat doubtful that this veteran of Hannibal’s army in Italy would still be wearing his traditional armour just before Zama, especially since their general reequipped most (or perhaps even all) his troops with Roman arms and armour.

However, I had a bit more of a problem with the two plates depicting the Crimisos defeat (341 BC) and the destruction of the Carthaginian “Sacred Band”, on the one hand, and the “street fighting” during the fall of Carthage. I did not find either of them very realistic. In the first, the supposedly “elite” heavy infantry are almost all blundering into the river, with hardly any of them fighting any kind of holding action. While this is possible, of course, I could not help thinking this was a bit of a caricature. It somehow did not “ring true” to me, even if this was no more than a subjective impression.

The so-called “street fighting” – which, more accurately, is about fighting on the rooftops - was even more problematic. Here again, the illustrator seems to have gone a bit “overboard” and overdid the “dramatic effects”. All of the surviving Carthaginians are in rags. Most are wounded. Not a single one of them is armoured or wearing any kind of military equipment, apart from the odd helmet, a spear and a couple of swords. The picture, especially when contrasted with the fully equipped Romans just about to slaughter them, would have been perhaps more realistic if a couple of surviving Carthaginian soldiers have been mixed up with the survivors. Here again, however, this is more about personal subjectivity than anything else.

One last comment is perhaps needed to praise the author for his rather excellent little list of references. All the main ones on Carthage and the Punic Wars are there, including Bagnall, Lazenby, Lancel and Goldsworthy bar one. This missing one is “Carthage must be destroyed”, first published in March 2010, some six months before this title was released. Four solid stars, but not quite five.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview in a much improved format from a generally dependable publisher 13 Nov 2013
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Osprey has published a great many books of military history in a large number of series, none of which runs more than 96 pages (many are half that length), and have been mostly successful in providing generally well-written overviews of individual battles or campaigns, or military units. Fields (who is new to me) is an ex-Royal Marine and biochemist who did a Ph.D. in ancient history and later was involved with the British School at Athens, taught at the University of Edinburgh, and is now a freelance author -- quite a varied career. And he seems to have done a pretty good job here.

Carthage, the Phoenician city on the coast of what is now Tunisia, was the superpower of its day, controlling an empire that spread over most of the Mediterranean. Rome, the up-and-comers, ran into them in a serious way when they first tried to expand into Sicily, and the result was a series of three hard-fought wars covering more than a century that ended with the utter defeat and destruction of Carthage.

This volume is better organized than many earlier ones, with sections on the political organization of Carthage itself, the Carthaginian military structure (based, like the Roman republican army, on the Greek system) and how it was recruited and equipped, how they campaigned, and the events of the Punic Wars themselves (though that's somewhat skimped, being covered elsewhere among Osprey's publications.). The Carthaginians depended not only on conscripts at home but also on Iberian cavalrymen, slingers from the Balearic Islands, and mercenary commanders like Xanthippos (whom Fields describes as Spartan, and whom artist Steve Noon paints as such, though all that is known for sure is that he was Greek), and all this is well covered. Fields, in fact, is a fluent and interesting writer. It's also nice that the photos in the more recent Osprey volumes are all in color, in a resolution far superior to the older volumes. There's even a decent basic bibliography for further reading.
3.0 out of 5 stars What else did you expect? 1 Oct 2013
By HAZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Likes:
The plates which depict the soldier types and dress are well done.
Good general info ranging from weapons and armaments to food and pay.

Dislikes:
As with all the Men at Arms Series books, there are only 8 plates shown in the book so if you are looking for a wide range of pictures to help with painting miniatures or other games, there are other more illustrated books out there.
This book goes into great detail about the mercenaries that Carthage used but only has a few pages dedicated to their own (native) men and units. I learned more from the picture on the front cover than I did looking through the book in that regard.
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