The Diverse Weaponry of Hannibal’s Carthaginian Army

Hannibal employed many soldiers from many different places. His army consisted of soldiers from Africa, Spain, Italy and he even had Celtic soldiers. Each group of soldiers brought their own culturally used armour and weapons to battle with the Romans.

The African soldiers wore very colorful uniforms that came in different varieties. The heavy infantry wore chain mail over their clothes and carried heavy shields. They mostly fought with an assortment of exotic weapons which they were well trained with and proved to be useful and deadly when they wielded them. They also used spears and long and short swords.

The Iberian or Spanish soldiers carried wooded shields and used sling and javelins as well as swords and spears. The heavy infantry also wore chain mail and used the typical heavy roman sword.  They also used the falcata which is a sickle shaped sword made of iron or steel. The falcata is made from 3 lamina or sheet of steel.

an Iberian Falcata

The Celts or Gauls were armed simple iron long swords. The swords weren’t of very good quality and were used more effectively when hacking rather than stabbing (Polybius).  Both Plutarch and Polybius describe the Celts as often ceasing fighting so as to straighten their swords. Polybius and Livy also assert that the Celts didn’t wear any armour and often fought naked.


Wikipedia contributors. “Carthiganian Army.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web. [Cited 17 Feb. 2012.]

Wikipedia contributors. “Hannibal.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web. [Cited 17 Feb. 2012.]

Knox, E.L. Skip. The Punic Wars: Battle of Cannae. Boise State University History of Western Civilization. [Cited 17 Feb 2012.]

Shean, John F. Hannibal’s Mules: The Logistical Limitations of Hannibal’s Army and the Battle of Cannae, 216 B.C.. Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996. [Cited 16 Feb 2012.]

Pleiner, Radomir. ”The Celtic Sword.” Oxford: Clarendon Press (1993). Print. [Cited 16 Feb 2012] [Cited 16 Feb 2012 Web]

Polybius. Shuckburgh, Evelyn S. (trans.) “Histories”. London, New York. Macmillan. 1889. Reprint Bloomington 1962. [Cited 16 Feb 2012] Web

Livius, Titus. “The History of Rome”. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Web  [Cited 16 Feb 2012]

Polybius. “The Battle of Cannae.” Fordham University.  [Cited 16 Feb 2012] Web

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