Royal Achaemenid Persia vs Early Carthage

Ever tried to imagine what could happen if Persian Empire invaded North Africa several hundred years BCE?
Here’s an answer… At least one of the multitude of possible ones.

Ruleset/Format: MeG Maximus 10 000 pts.


As Persians invaded Carthage, the battle took place in a coastal farmland, with two vineyards and two fields (one still with crops, just before the harvest). Not as good for cavalry as open plains, but still with enough space to develop battlelines on both sides of the area.

Carthaginias were taken by surprise (lost scouting by 20%), but they managed to safely place their camp flanked by vineyard, and with two regiments of African Spearmen in the front, supported with skirmishers (Sardinian Archers and Spanish Javelinmen) – overall tough nut to crack for the Persians.

Right Carthaginian flank was taken by elite Punic Chariots and Campanian Cavalry supported by Numidian Horse Javelinmen and a regiment of Punic Cavalry.
Taking advantage of cover provided by the second vineyard, the left flank was taken by infantry – third African Spearmen and Sardinian Footmen with support from Numidian foot javelinmen and famous Balearic Slingers.

Allied Numidian contingent comprising Nobles and Horse Javelinmen took the center-left. Single Punic Cavalry regiment was left in reserve, guarding the rear of Numidian Allies (or making sure they will do their job).

Persians set up more conservatively, with all infantry in the middle: two Sparabara units and Guard Immortals, supported with a regiment of Greek Hoplites and skirmishing Asiatic Archers.

Persian Archers in massed formation were left behind to protect the camp, should the battle develop in favour of the Carthage.

The right flank of Persian infantry was protected by Iranian Cavalry and elite Satrapal Guard Cavalry, with two Saka Horsebowmen regiments (one skilled in archery) even further to the right.

The left Persian flank consisted of super-elite Royal Guard Cavalry, not much less elite Persian Chariots and a group of light Horse Archers.

Persian strategic plan was quite obvious – utilize the central piece of terrain to safely push with flexible Sparabara and Immortals towards the Carthaginian camp, while keeping the flanks busy with mounted archers, and seeking for an opportunity to break through with elite units.

The whole Persian army carried bows, except the Hoplites, and such firepower was supposed to force the opponent to close in, instead of acting too defensively. However, Carthage’s ranged ability was also impressive (albeit at a bit lower distance), with three units of skilled javelinmen, one skilled slingers and some other experienced shooters.


Both armies pushed forward, leaving some units in reserve.

Carthaginian general saw through his opponent’s plan and sent Spanish Javelinmen into the field to slow the Persian advance in the middle.

Persian Hoplites marched to support the cavalrymen on the left, as they were a bit outnumbered by the Carthaginian elite units.


Confused by his opponent clever move, Persian general din’t order a charge and instead Sparabara infantry unleashed a volley at Spanish Javelinmen, taking a base out and suffering a wound in return.

Immortals pushed further just behind the Iranian and Satrapal cavalry, which attempted to catch the Numidians as soon as possible.

One Saka unit galloped so far that Numidian skirmishing cavalry had to flee in order to avoid being pushed through Nobles, which could result in disordering their formation (and causing a KaB test).

On the left flank Persians managed to position in a way that Royal Guard threatened the Punic chariots’ flank, so Punic Cavalry had to press forward in order to block such move.


The things started to get serious this turn.

Persian chariots clashed with Punic chariots and Campanians, and managed to reduce their wheeled counterpart to three bases and also harmed the cavalry, while receiving zero damage themselves. They were only supposed to hold long enough for the Persian Guard and Hoplites to route Punic Cavalry and get behind the Carthaginian line, but their performance was much better than that! They even managed to catch Numidian skirmishers by expanding their fighting frontage.

Punic Cavalry was forced to charge the Hoplites and Royal Guard, and lost a base, thus it was safe to say that their fate was sealed, as any reinforcements were far away.

Persian shield wall made a quick job of the skirmishers so the crops were theirs and empty, and so was the route towards the Carthaginian camp.

Immortals and Iranian Cavalry stood firm while African Spearmen boldly charged them, which resulted in some damage to both sides.

Satrapal Guard charged the Numidians, only to lose a base and a wound due to enemy shooting.
As they did not catch anyone, their immediate future did not look great…

On the right flank nothing special happened – only some shooting, skirmish pushing and minor maneuvering.


The melee on the left flank continued and Carthaginians were losing badly. Persian chariots dealt further damage both to Punic chariots (they probably should be renamed to “puny”) and Campanians. Royal Guard and Hoplites finished the Punic Cavalry, which resulted in panic amongst the puny chariots – they received a finishing wound via KaB test and their general was trampled during the rout (skull on the KaB test).

Numidians exchanged ineffective volleys with Persian light cavalry.

Also in the middle things didn’t look nice for Carthage. African Spearmen, who rushed to reinforce the already shattering flank, came under a fire from Persian archers and Sparabara, who also  threatened their flank.

Iranian Cavalry broke off from melee with the other Africans, who were fighting Immortals, while the second Sparabara moved into the flanking position.

Punic Cavalry rushed forward in an attempt to catch the Iranians, while Numidian firing squad ruthlessly executed the Satrapal Guard…

Right flank again – shooting and wandering around.


The situation on the left Persian flank was almost resolved – mounted skirmishers were stuck in a shooting duel, while the last of the Campanians were being heavily pressed by the Persian chariots, who looked as fresh as in the very beginning…

Royal Guard maneuvered into a position that would allow them to engage African Spearmen, who were charged by Sparabara in the flank.

The other Sparabara charged in the flank of the other Spearmen, who were already struggling against Immortals.

Punic Cavalry charged the Iranian Cavalry, but their assault was far from impressive, so the Numidian Nobles had to move forward, as they were too far away to charge.

Right flank… just read the previous rounds, you could probably think that skilled shooting would be more effective…


The final round of battle, when Carthage received final blows to both their health and morale.

Royal Guard charged into African Spearmen, who already fought against the Sparabara, dealing serious damage.

Iranian Cavalrymen were able to withstand the charge of Numidian Nobles, while still fighting Punic Cavalry.

On the left flank Numidian and Persian mounted skirmishers shot each other to the point of routing.

The next melee phase was decisive.

Persian chariots finally routed the Campanian Cavalry.

Both African Spearmen units attacked from two sides just couldn’t take any more damage and decided to flee.

Three routed TuGs together with two lost in previous rounds made a total of five, which was enough to break the Carthaginian fighting spirit.

The battle was over.




Ahh and the right flank… yes.


Hey you Saka guys on the right! We’ve won – you can stop!


















Artwork by:
1) some ancient Persian artist(s)
2) Richard Scollins (taken from the book “The Achaemenid Persian Army by Duncan Head)

More reports to come!