Enough to feed an army

Between 237 and 202 BC, the Carthaginian Empire due to both its territorial ambitions and, above all, its conflicts with Rome and several indigenous peoples of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, was forced to keep large numbers of troops almost permanently mobilized. These military and political circumstances led to a series of major changes in Carthaginian economic, political and social systems.

Through this project we will analyze in detail the extent to which the military mobilization affected agriculture, the very basis of the ancient economy, and which were the politics adopted by the ruling elites of the Carthaginian Empire to ensure the supplying of their armies.

As a multidisciplinary project, it will deal with data from Classical Sources, Archaeology, and Numismatics, but it will also use some of the latest computing techniques as an innovative methodological approach to face some specific subjects. In this sense, using drawings of complete amphorae we will develop 3D restitutions of them to be able to estimate its capacity and, finally, develop a quantitative study of the productive capacity of the Carthaginian empire in the late third century BC that will be compared with the theoretical productivity of its territorial domains based on the soils features. We will discuss too on the Carthaginian logistics during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC). With the information of the Classical Sources we will try to decide how much (in silver and food) will cost recruit and retain each soldier of the Carthaginian armies and whether the Spanish silver mines and the territorials domains were enough to face these expenses.

We will also investigate the relationship between war-veterans and agricultural production through a metrological analysis based on photogrammetric techniques of the so-called Hannibalic towers, quadrangular towers with stone foundations and adobe elevation. We suggest that these were used in Barcid and Roman times to control the main communication routes and the rural exploitation of the Carthaginian Empire.

All these results will be compared with a field survey of part of the rural landscape of New Carthage (Cartagena, Murcia, Spain), the main colony under Carthaginian rule in the Iberian territory.

Contact

Dr Víctor Martínez Hahnmüller