Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Πέμπτη, 4 Απριλίου 2019

Carthaginian army : The Greek and Barbarian merceneries in the military forces of ancient Carthage

The military of Carthage was one of the largest military forces in the ancient world. Although Carthage's navy was always its main military force, the army acquired a key role in the spread of Carthaginian power over the native peoples of northern Africa and southern Iberian Peninsula from the 6th century BC and the 3rd century BC. Carthage's military also allowed it to expand into Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. This expansion transformed the military from a body of citizen-soldiers into a multinational force composed primarily of foreign mercenary units. The Carthaginian military was a combined arms force, which comprised light and heavy infantry, siege engines, skirmishers, light and heavy cavalry, as well as war elephants and chariots. Supreme command of the military was initially held by the civilian Suffetes until the third century BC. Thereafter, professional military generals were appointed directly by the Carthaginian Senate. Carthage's military battled the Greeks over control of the island of Sicily. These encounters influenced the development of the Carthaginians' weapons and tactics, causing Carthage to adopt the Greek-style hoplite soldier fighting in the phalanx formation. However, the Carthaginian war machine faced its biggest challenge in the military of the Roman Republic during the Punic Wars. While Carthage was finally defeated by Rome in 146 BC, its military achieved notable success under the command of Hamilcar Barca and his son Hannibal.
The most distinct feature of the Carthaginian army was its composition. Contrary to most other states in the Mediterranean at the time, the army was composed almost exclusively of foreign mercenary units while its navy was manned by citizens. Carthage lacked a history of citizen infantry forces, requiring its army to be composed mainly of foreign troops, particularly Libyans, Numidians, Iberians, Gauls, and Greeks. Its Phoenician origins, however, granted Carthage a long history as a seafaring people. Additionally, while the navy was a permanently manned force, the army would be enlisted only for a particular campaign and then demobilized. Only when the city of Carthage itself was threatened would citizens be conscripted into infantry service. Ancient authors, such as Polybius and Livy, tend to stress Carthage's reliance on mercenary units. The term "mercenary", however, is misleading when applied to the entire Carthaginian army. While Carthage did employ mercenaries in the true sense of the word, Carthage's usage of native African and Iberian recruit would not be true mercenaries as these peoples were subjects of Carthage. Also, Carthage's army was composed of recruits from its allies fighting for Carthage in accordance with bilateral treaties. For example, the Numidian kingdoms provided extensive light cavalry units due to the close relationship between the two states.
Ancient authors, such as Polybius, tend to stress Carthage's reliance on foreign mercenaries. However, the term 'mercenary' is misleading when applied to the African and Iberian recruits, i.e. from areas controlled by Carthage. They were comparable to Roman Auxilia though Carthage did also employ mercenaries in the true sense as well. Units were generally segregated by ethnicity, which was also a criterion for the respective specialisation. While within a unit communication in the native tongue was possible, between units Greek and Punic helped to establish communication. According to Polybius, this enabled the insurgents during the Mercenary War, which is also the only recorded large mutiny of Carthage's troops, to communicate with each other on higher levels. The reported causes for this conflict were that following the First Punic War against Rome, payment of the mercenaries was delayed for over a year. When finally arrangements for payment were made, the mistrust between the mercenaries and their employer helped to kindle the war. The native African Libyans, the largest contingent of the 'mercenaries', objected to being paid last while their comrades had been shipped home. Fear had spread that this might be a Carthaginian trap to exterminate them without payment and save their silver, after having crippled their army of the specialized supportive arms units. The conditions for the payment were rejected, although their former commander, Gisco, had provided them with his own person and 500 other nobles as hostages to reassure them of Carthage's sincere and honest intentions. The mercenaries and supporting native insurgents began attacking Carthaginian targets and urging the Libyan natives to rise. According to our sources, the war was conducted in a particularly brutal fashion and ended, after three years, with the total destruction of the mercenary and insurgent forces. It would be difficult to say precisely what a typical make-up of a Carthaginian army would be, but in the Punic wars, they are reported to have included Hispanics (Celts, Celtiberians, Iberians and Balearics), Celts (Gauls), Italians (e.g. Ligures), native Sicilian tribesmen, Numidian cavalry, Libyans and Lybophoenicians (also called Africans), Greeks, and natural Punics from Carthage and its external settlements.
In 550 BC, Mago I of Carthage became king of Carthage and sought to establish Carthage as the dominant military power in the western Mediterranean. Though still economically dependent on its mother city of Tyre, Carthage was growing in stature. Under Mago, Carthage allied with the Etruscans of northern Italy against the Greek city-states in southern Italy, an alliance that would last until Rome expelled its Etruscan kings. Mago also set about a series of military reforms designed to strengthen Carthaginian power, including copying the army of Timoleon of Corinth, general of Syracuse. The core of Carthage's military was the Greek-style phalanx formed by citizen hoplite spearmen who had been conscripted into service. During the 4th century BC, the maximum number of troops Carthage was able to conscript into service can be estimated from the capacity of the barracks located in the three rings of walls that protected the city, offering accommodation to 24,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, and 300 elephants. In addition to the conscripted forces, large contingents of mercenaries and auxiliaries would be employed. Appian mentions that in total 40,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, and 2,000 heavy chariots were recruited to oppose the invasion of Agathocles of Syracuse.
After the Punic defeats during the Sicilian Wars of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, in which large numbers of Carthaginian citizens had been killed, the Carthaginian Senate set about enlisting mercenary forces in order to replenish the ranks of the Carthaginian army, an extraordinary technique that Carthage had employed since the late 6th century BC. Beginning with the reign of King Hanno the Navigator in 480 BC, Carthage regularly began employing Iberian infantry and Balearic slingers to support Carthaginian spearmen in Sicily, a practice that would continue until the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC. Punic military recruiters toured all corners of the Mediterranean Sea, attracting mercenaries and fugitive slaves. Gauls, Ligurians, Numidians, Libyans, Greeks, and especially Iberians. were extensively recruited by Carthage. Troops were recruited both by simple monetary contracts and through partnerships established through treaties with other states and tribes.
In 256 BC, during the First Punic War with the Roman Republic for domination over Sicily, the Roman Consul Marcus Atilius Regulus defeated the Carthaginian navy at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus and landed a Roman army on Carthaginian territory in Africa. Regulus then inflicted a crushing defeat on the Carthaginian army at the Battle of Adys near Carthage. Though Carthage was inclined towards a peace deal, the terms that Regulus demanded were too harsh, causing Carthage to continue the war. The Carthaginians recruited the Spartan mercenary captain Xanthippus, who was charged with retraining and restructuring the Carthaginian army. Xanthippus adopted the combined arms model of the Macedonian army, developed during the time of Phillip II. Xanthippus split his cavalry between his two wings, with mercenary infantry screening the cavalry, and a hastily raised citizen phalanx in the center screened by a line of elephants in front of the spearmen. Previously, Carthaginian generals have placed the elephants behind the central phalanx. Xanthippus also realized the mistakes that the Carthaginians were making by avoiding open ground battles against the Romans, instead seeking only uneven terrain. This was done out of fear of the Romans' superior infantry. Such a strategy, however, restricted Carthage's strongest elements: its cavalry and elephants. The uneven terrain also disrupted the phalanx and favored the more flexible legion. By seeking battles on open plains, Xanthippus was able to make the fullest use of Carthage's strengths, where Roman formations broke under attack from the elephant and cavalry charges. Under the leadership of Xanthippus, the reformed Carthaginian army completely defeated the Romans at the Battle of Tunis.
Xanthippus was a Spartan mercenary general hired by the Carthaginians to aid in their war against the Romans during the First Punic War. He trained Carthaginian soldiers and led them into the Battle of Tunis, where Carthaginian forces routed the Roman expeditionary force and captured the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus in 255 BC. Xanthippus is credited with the Carthaginian formation, cavalry split between the two wings, mercenary infantry on their right, with a hastily raised phalanx of civilians in the centre and a line of elephants in front of the infantry, which defeated the Romans formed in their normal formation, with the outnumbered cavalry on the wings and legionary infantry in the centre. He also realised the mistakes the Carthaginians were making by avoiding open ground (because of the Romans' superior infantry) which restricted the Carthaginian cavalry and elephants (the strongest parts of their armies). Diodorus gives an account of Xanthippus' death. After the Battle of Tunis, Xanthippus stopped in the city of Lilybaeum which was besieged by the Romans. He inspired courage and led an attack defeating the Romans. Jealous of Xanthippus's success, the city betrayed him by giving him a leaky ship and he supposedly sank in the Adriatic Sea on his voyage home. For Lazenby this story is completely implausible. There is a report of a Xanthippus being made governor of a newly acquired province by Ptolemy Euergetes of Egypt in 245 BC. Silius Italicus writes that Xanthippus was originally from Amyclae in Laconia, but this may as well be an invention for metric convenience.
The Battle of the Bagradas River (Medjerda), also known as the Battle of Tunis, was a Carthaginian victory over Rome in the spring of 255 BC during the First Punic War. The greatly superior cavalry of the Carthaginians and their allies permitted a pincer attack on the Roman infantrymen, provoking a rout and slaughter. The mercenary Spartan general Xanthippus was hired by the city of Carthage following heavy-handed negotiations by Rome. He made the Romans fight on open ground, which allowed him to maximise the effect of the excellent Carthaginian cavalry and elephants. The Roman army under Marcus Atilius Regulus was based at Tunis. Faced by the resurgent Carthaginian army, Regulus was keen to gain another victory rather than risk the chance that someone else would get the glory of eventual victory. Xanthippus deployed the Carthaginian phalanx in the centre, mercenary infantry on the right, a line of elephants in front of the infantry, and the elite Carthaginian cavalry split between the two flanks. The Carthaginians had 12,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, and 100 war elephants. The Romans had 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry. The Romans were formed in their normal formation, with the legionary infantry in the centre and the outnumbered cavalry on the flanks. The Carthaginians started the battle with an attack by the elephants. This tied up the main force of Roman infantry. The Roman cavalry, outnumbered eight to one, was quickly defeated. Only on their left did the Romans have any success, when 2,000 troops, possibly allied troops, defeated the mercenaries facing them, and chased them back past their camp. Meanwhile, in the centre the elephant attack had been withstood, but only a few isolated units of Roman infantry managed to get past them to attempt to attack the Carthaginian phalanx, and those were quickly defeated. Finally, the Carthaginian cavalry charged the already shaken Romans from both sides, destroying what cohesion was left. Only the 2,000 troops successful earlier in the battle escaped to be rescued by the Roman fleet. The Romans lost 12,000 killed and 500 captured, while the Carthaginians lost only 800 mercenaries killed. Regulus was taken prisoner. Diodorus (a writer hostile to the Carthaginians) suggests he died from natural causes. The defeat, and serious disasters in storms at sea, ended any chance that Rome would defeat Carthage in Africa, and ensured that the rest of the war was fought in Sicily and at sea.
In 247 BC, after eighteen years of fighting in the First Punic War, the Carthaginian Senate appointed Hamilcar Barca to assume command of Carthage's land and naval forces in the struggle against the Roman Republic. Though Carthage dominated the sea following its victory in the Battle of Drepanum in 249 BC, Rome controlled Sicily. Until this point, Carthage had been led by the landed aristocracy and they preferred to expand into Africa instead of pursuing an aggressive policy against Rome in Sicily. Hanno "The Great" had been in charge of operations in Africa since 248 BC and had conquered considerable territory by 241 BC. Carthage at this time was feeling the strain of the prolonged conflict. In addition to maintaining a fleet and soldiers in Sicily, it was also fighting the Libyans and Numidians in Africa. As a result, Hamilcar was given a fairly small army and the Carthaginian fleet was gradually withdrawn so that, by 242 BC, Carthage had no ships to speak of in Sicily.
The Mercenary War (240 BC – 238 BC), also called the Libyan War and the Truceless War by Polybius, was an uprising of mercenary armies formerly employed by Carthage, backed by Libyan settlements revolting against Carthaginian control. The war began as a dispute over the payment of money owed to the mercenaries between the mercenary armies who fought the First Punic War on Carthage's behalf, and a destitute Carthage, which had lost most of its wealth due to the indemnities imposed byRome as part of the peace treaty. The dispute grew until the mercenaries seized Tunis by force of arms, and directly threatened Carthage, which then capitulated to the mercenaries' demands. The conflict would have ended there, had not two of the mercenary commanders, Spendius and Mathos, persuaded the Libyan conscripts in the army to accept their leadership, and then convinced them that Carthage would exact vengeance for their part in the revolt once the foreign mercenaries were paid and sent home. They also persuaded the combined mercenary armies to revolt against Carthage, and various Libyan towns and cities to back the revolt. What had been a hotly contested "labour dispute" exploded into a full-scale revolt. Heavily outmatched in terms of troops, money, and supplies, an unprepared Carthage fared poorly in the initial engagements of the war, especially under the generalship of Hanno the Great. Hamilcar Barca, general from the campaigns in Sicily and father of Hannibal Barca, was given supreme command, and eventually defeated the rebels in 237 BC. The war had repercussions for Carthage, both internally, and internationally. Internally, the victory of Hamilcar Barca greatly enhanced the prestige and power of the Barcid family, whose most famous member, Hannibal, would lead Carthage in the Second Punic War. Internationally, Rome used the "invitation" of the mercenaries that had captured Sardinia to occupy the island. The seizure of Sardinia and the outrageous extra indemnity fuelled resentment in Carthage. The loss of Sardinia, along with the earlier loss of Sicily meant that Carthage's traditional source of wealth, its trade, was now severely compromised, forcing them to look for a new source of wealth. This led Hamilcar, together with his son-in-law Hasdrubal and his son Hannibal to establish a power base in Hispania, outside Rome's sphere of influence, which later became the source of wealth and manpower for Hannibal's initial campaigns in the Second Punic War.
Hannibal Barca (247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a general and statesman from Ancient Carthage who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War (264–241 BC). His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair, all also commanded Carthaginian armies. Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the western Mediterranean Basin, triggered by the emergence of the Roman Republic as a great power after it had established its supremacy over Italy. Although Rome had won the First Punic War, revanchism prevailed in Carthage, symbolised by the alleged pledge that Hannibal made to his father to never be a friend of Rome. The Second Punic War broke out in 218 after Hannibal's attack on Saguntum, an ally of Rome in Hispania. He then made his famous military exploit of carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants. In his first few years in Italy, he won a succession of dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, andCannae. He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent's respective strengths and weaknesses, and to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal's well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer several Italian cities allied to Rome. Hannibal occupied most of southern Italy for 15 years, but could not win a decisive victory, as the Romans led by Fabius Maximus avoided confrontation with him, instead waging a war of attrition. A counter-invasion of North Africa led by Scipio Africanus forced him to return to Carthage. Scipio had studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and he finally defeated Rome's nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having previously driven Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula. After the war, Hannibal successfully ran for the office of sufet. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome; however, those reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and in Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III the Great in his war against Rome. Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome's terms, and Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamon. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans and committed suicide by poisoning himself. Hannibal is often regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history and one of the greatest generals of Mediterranean antiquity, together with Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Scipio Africanus. Plutarch states that Scipio supposedly asked Hannibal "who the greatest general was", to which Hannibal replied "either Alexander or Pyrrhus, then himself" Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called Hannibal the "father of strategy", because Roman armies adopted elements of his military tactics into its own strategic arsenal. Hannibal has been cited by various subsequent military leaders, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, as an inspiration and the greatest strategist of all time.
Sosylus of Lacedaemon was a Greek historian in the 3rd century BC. A contemporary of Hannibal, he accompanied him during the Second Punic War and is the author of the Deeds of Hannibal, a lost historical work of seven volumes; only fragments of the work are known. Sosylus taught Hannibal Greek. It is possible that Polybios may have used material from Sosylus' history for his writing about Hannibal in The Histories. Silenus Calatinus (Σιληνός) was a Sicilian Greek historian of the 2nd century BC who wrote a history in Greek of Hannibal's campaign in Italy from 218 to 204BC. His work is known only from fragments and borrowings by other authors. Silenus was probably a native of Caleacte in northern Sicily. Along with Sosylus of Lacedaemon he accompanied Hannibal during his campaign, and therefore was able to provide a contemporaneous, first-hand account. Lucius Coelius Antipater largely based much of his Latin history of the Second Punic War on Silenus; Polybius, Livy, and Cicero also referenced him.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Carthage
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenary_War
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannibal
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sosylus_of_Lacedaemon
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silenus_Calatinus





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