"Why would Baal send such a vision? He's not cruel, he has watched over us, we have had victories aplenty in war."

-Carthaginian leader

Carthage represents one of the many playable factions in Rome: Total War.


By tradition, Carthage was founded by Queen Dido who had fled from the city of Tyre in Phoenicia after her husband was killed by her brother. Even in the days of legend there was a link with Rome, because Aeneas of Troy, the father to the Romans, was the lover of Dido and then abandoned her. In her grief she killed herself, cursing Aeneas and his descendants as she died.

Carthage - the name means ‘new town’ - continued to flourish, a Phoenician colony that outgrew and survived its parent land. The Phoenicians - and their successors the Carthaginians - must be credited with the invention of glass, the bireme galley and with being expert traders thanks to their superb navigational skills. Even before the Greeks reached the Western Mediterranean, Carthage was a superbly wealthy city, thanks to its mastery of the seas. Carthaginian colonies - colonies of the original Phoenician colony - now ring the sea (modern Barcelona is named after the famous Barca family). Carthage is a maritime power, with only a relatively small landowning class to provide military land power. This, however, does not matter as long as Carthage continues to be wealthy. Its coffers pay for mercenaries in abundance when the city needs to go to war.

And it is this wealth, mastery of trade and expansion along the Mediterranean coast towards Italy that brings Carthage into direct confrontation with the newly rising power of Rome. Now, perhaps, it is time for Dido’s curse to have its full effects on the children of Aeneas...

Background InformationEdit


Carthage, based in North Africa (in present-day Tunisia), started out as a great and prosperous city state in the 9th century BC. By tradition, the city had been founded by Queen Dido, who had fled the city of Tyre in Phoenicia (in present-day Lebanon and Palestine) after her husband was killed by her brother. Even in the days of legend there was a link to Rome, because Aeneas of Troy (in present-day Turkey), the father to the Romans, was the lover to Dido and then abandoned her. In her grief she killed herself, cursing Aeneas and his descendants as she died.

Carthage continued to flourish, a Phoenician colony that outgrew and surpassed its parent land.

Carthage is best known for the actions of Hannibal in the Second Punic War. Hannibal amassed an army in Spain and marched his army through the Alps into Italy in an attempt to capture Rome itself. After a string of victories Hannibal expended his funding from the Carthaginian council. Much to his displeasure he was forced to end the war.

Carthage Start

The Carthaginian Empire as presented in Rome: Total War

Following the war Rome consolidated its power. When Carthage in turn grew in strength Rome demanded Hannibal go in exile. Years later, in Turkey, Hannibal commited suicide.

At the end of the Third Punic War, in 147 B.C. Rome launched an attack on Carthage and effectively annihilating the city as a civilian settlement.

In the following millennia many countries and states have taken the title of Carthage but the classical Carthaginian state is accepted to have been destroyed at this time.



Peasants are reluctant warriors, but numbers are useful in all armies. Forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes rather than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. But if nothing else, they are useful when there's digging to be done! They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding whenever there is cover.


Slingers are highly skilled missile troops but are at a huge disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat, especially against cavalry. They can maintain a sustained and concentrated barrage on enemies and then fall back rapidly to avoid hand-to-hand combat. Slingers carry a shoulder bag with many pieces of lead shot (they can also use stones picked up on the battlefield) and several spare slings including slings of different length for greater or lesser range. Other than a knife and a small shield, they carry no other equipment.


Skirmishers rush forward to pepper an enemy with javelins, and then withdraw in good order before a counter-attack can be organised. They are light infantry, equipped with small throwing javelins, a falcata sword, and a small shield resembling the Greek pelte-pattern shield.

When the opportunity presents itself, they are traditionally recruited from among the Ibero-Celts. Regardless of where they are recruited, they are skillful practitioners of the skirmishing arts, and very adept at springing tactical ambushes. They are not intended to hold a position in a battle line, but to harass and disrupt the enemy.

Town Militia

Town militia are trained bands of citizens dragged from their homes and shops, given a spear each and some rudimentary training before they are thrown into battle. Their war gear is literally no more than a cheap shield and a spear, so they are defensive troops best used against light cavalry. They should not be expected to stand unsupported against an enemy, and until they have been seasoned by surviving a battle or two they shouldn't be expected to do much more than defend themselves! They are, however, cost effective to raise.

Iberian Infantry

Iberian infantry are fast moving close combat infantry. They may not be the best trained troops, but they are cost effective warriors. They are one of the basic units available to generals in the Carthaginian-influenced world. Every Iberian infantryman carries a shield in addition to his short sword, but his only other protection is a helmet; he relies on speed and agility instead of armour. They are best employed against enemy spearmen and, like other infantry, can be vulnerable to cavalry attacks.

Libyan Spearmen

Libyan spearmen are best when defending against cavalry, but can hold a battle line for a while when required. They are recruited from among the lower orders of Carthaginian society, and given basic training in how to handle their spears and war gear. They are better equipped than, say, militia, as they have light leather armour as well as shields and helmets. Their training also makes them effective in battle, as they are unlikely to cut and run in the same way as a militia unit.

Poeni Infantry

These heavy spear infantry are drawn from the self-reliant Carthaginian citizenry, and make superior soldiers. Poeni infantry are heavy spearmen, armed with heavy thrusting spears and swords. They are well armoured in chainmail, carry large shields, and are some of the best troops to use as an 'anchor' for a battle line. They can hold off cavalry attacks and fight against other infantry when required.

Sacred Band

The Sacred Band is the elite infantry of any Carthaginian army and can be relied upon to do their duty to the end. They are equipped and organised in the same fashion as Greek hoplites, with long spears, large shields, breastplates and helmets, and they can use phalanx tactics. This is a style of warmaking that has proved its worth over the centuries.

They are drawn from the social elite of Carthage, men of noble and wealthy birth and their loyalty is exemplary. The original purpose of the Sacred Band was to act as an officer corps for the Carthaginian army and an elite force, and to put Carthage above any local loyalties. Opponents have learned that these men are formidable in battle, a linchpin for the entire Carthaginian army!

Round Shield Cavalry

Round shield cavalry are best used to ride down skirmishers and pursue fleeing enemies. They lack the armour protection needed for prolonged melees against heavier opponents and, as they are armed with swords, do not have an initial shock value when they charge home. That said, properly deployed they will give a good account of themselves.

Long Shield Cavalry

Long shield cavalry are spear-armed light cavalry, who can be used to break enemy formations, drive off skirmishers and pursue fleeing foes. This makes them a flexible and powerful force for any commander to have under his hand. They can also fight effectively in melee after a charge, as they carry swords of the falcata design. These are cunningly balanced so that the weight is towards the tip of the sword, giving a powerful cutting blow. Against spearmen, however, they can be at a disadvantage.

Sacred Band Cavalry

Sacred Band cavalry are an elite in Carthaginian warfare and society. They fight as heavy cavalry, but with a level of discipline and élan that is rarely matched in other nations. They carry spears and wear good armour, so that they can charge home with devastating effect. They are the devoted servants of Astarte, handed over to the temple and state by their patrician families for military duties rather than ritual sacrifice.

Historically, the great Carthaginian general Hannibal took units of the Sacred Band over the Alps and into Italy; even though they got no reinforcements from home two-thirds of these men were still fighting after 14 years of campaigning.

General's Bodyguard

This general has a bodyguard of loyal spear-armed cavalry to accompany him onto the field. Armed with spears, these men are shock cavalry, able to deliver a devastating charge attack; they are then well trained enough to fight effectively in continued hand-to-hand combat.

Like all general's guards, this unit is best committed to the fight at the point of crisis, when the general's inspirational leadership and the combat power of his men can tip the balance.

General's Armoured Bodyguard

This general has a bodyguard of loyal spear-armed cavalry to accompany him onto the field. Armed with spears, these armoured men are shock cavalry, able to deliver a devastating charge attack; they are then well trained enough to fight effectively in continued hand-to-hand combat.

Like all general's guards, this unit is best committed to the fight at the point of crisis, when the general's inspirational leadership and the combat power of his men can tip the balance.


Elephants are a terrifying spectacle to opposing troops, well able to smash battle lines and toss men aside like dogs with rats.

Standing at just over two metres tall at the shoulder, these particular animals are rather tractable and can be trained for warfare relatively easily. They are fast moving, able to trample and gore enemies seemingly at will when being urged on by their riders. They are a living battering ram aimed at the enemy battle line. When pursuing enemies they can be even more deadly.

Each elephant is unarmoured, but many blows simply glance off the tough hide. Only a single rider is carried.

War Elephants

War elephants are fierce and terrible beasts, able to trample men and horses into the dirt. Over three metres tall at the shoulder, these are large and bad-tempered animals, and they have been known to run wild with fear and anger in battle. When this happens no one - friend or foe - is safe. For this reason the driver always carries a small mallet and a spike so that he can kill the animal if necessary by driving the spike into the base of the skull.

The crew are armed with bows to shoot down into tightly packed enemy formations, but the elephant itself is also a weapon: it can trample and gore men easily, hurling them around like rag dolls.

Armoured Elephants

Armoured elephants are the most fearsome creatures to be found on a battlefield. Little can stand before these armoured giants.

Each elephant has heavy armour that protects it from missiles and hand-held weapons. The driver uses the elephant itself as a weapon, guiding it as it tramples and gores its way through the opposition. The archers snipe down into enemy formations, weakening opponents before the inevitable clash.

Armoured elephants can run amok, causing havoc in the process to anyone nearby.


The onager is a catapult jokingly named for the tremendous kick it has when fired at the enemy (an "onager" is a wild ass). This war machine is powered by a twisted spring of animal sinew ropes, the most elastic substance available.

The throwing arm is held in tension by the sinews. When pulled back and held by a catch it can fling a boulder with considerable speed and range. This version can be used for reducing stone fortifications, but it can also be used on the battlefield for destroying enemy artillery and harassing troops (although admittedly by killing some of them outright).

The onager can also be used to launch incendiary missiles such as firepots, making it a versatile piece of artillery to any commander.

Gameplay Notes/TriviaEdit

  • Carthage is present in two optionally played historical battles, both pitting them against Rome, the Battle of the River Trebia and the Battle of Lake Trasimene. In the former, the player plays as Hannibal, in control of Carthaginian forces, while in the latter the player plays as the ambushed Romans.
  • The wide mix of Carthaginian military units have their own unique flaws and advantages. Mercenaries are easily recruited from nearby regions to bolster the imperial armies, while the local spearmen and war elephants are of unusually strong martial prowess. Perhaps the most easily exploited weakness in Carthage, however, is the kingdom's lack of proper military emphasis on ranged or cavalry units, giving most Eastern factions in Rome: Total War a definite advantage over them. However, Libyan Spearmen are decent against even Cataphracts, being able to hold them for some time, as well as being maneuverable. Also, Sacred Band Cavalry have superior attack and defense than Companion Cavalry, allowing Carthaginian armies to have a powerful cavalry unit.
  • Sacred Band are superior to all phalanxes exceptSpartan Hoplites and Royal Pikemen (when played against), and maybe Silvershield Pikemen and Bronze Shield Pikemen.
  • Poeni Infantry is superior to Hoplites and Nile Infantry.
  • Sacred Band Cavalry is on the same level as Companion Cavalry. It depends then on who charges first, who is more tired, have less morale, what formation they use (wedge formation against a standard formation will always win when the units are evenly matched), and of course, how many soldiers each have.
  • Unique Carthaginian units are: Libyan Spearmen, Poeni Infantry, Sacred Band Infantry, and Sacred Band Cavalry.
    Screen shot 2011-03-21 at 9.00.47 AM

    Carthaginian Units

  • The symbol of Carthage is based on the ancient Phoenician and later Carthaginian crescent symbol.
  • In the campaign, Carthage has been seen to be at war with all 4 Roman factions, the Iberians, the Greek Cities, Numidia, Gaul, Egypt, and Macedon, in addition to the Rebels.
  • When playing as Carthage, it is advised to ally with the Greek Cities to fight the Romans together. As your Diplomat is by Carthage, and a Greek Diplomat is on Sicily, this is rather easy. Attacking Numidia should be postponed in favor of Rome, as the Romans are bigger threats than the Numidians. Additionally, conquering Iberia (except the one Gallic settlement) is advised. Once you have defeated Rome and Iberia, decide whether attacking the Greeks, the Numidians, or the Macedonians is best. The Greeks will inevitably become a hindrance, but you might not want to attack them too soon and go for Macedon. You can also spend minimal resources and conquer Numidia.
  • Initially, Carthage has a fairly weak army that must be bolstered with mercenaries (while Iberian Infantry and Libyan Spearmen are decent troops, they just aren't good enough, unless against barbarians in early-game), preferably Mercenary Hoplites, although hiring everything that's available is recommended.
  • Carthage cannot train any ranged cavalry.

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