Are there any design elements that symbolized the Carthaginian empire? The Roman empire is associated with many iconographic and stylistic elements, like the golden eagle on military standards and banners, the bright red tunics and draperies, a very recognizable legionary armor silhouette, the curved red/orange shields, etc. Each of these are very evocative symbols of the Roman government and military, similar to the bald eagle or the stars-and-stripes for the USA.

The game Rome: Total War associates Carthage with the colors blue and white and a symbol of a crescent moon, but I haven't found many other references for either of these so I imagine they're just game design elements. Most of the religious symbols tied to Carthage are equally tied to Phoenicia and other areas of the Mediterranean. I'm having a hard time finding any symbols or designs, whether military or governmental or religious, that are exclusively and evocatively Carthaginian.

Were there any seals or standards or designs or colors that evoked "Carthage" in the minds of people in the ancient Mediterranean?

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    In this question there is a picture of coins with a horse-symbol, maybe that's wath you're looking for? Also if you like RTW you should try the free mod Europa Barbarorum wich represents Carthage a lot better.
    – Jeroen K
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


First of all, the Carthaginian Empire's army was mainly mercenary. They fielded Iberian Infantry, African Infantry, Numidian Cavalry, and the now extinct North African War Elephant. Iberian infantry were light troops, with sword and shield. Because there were so many mercenaries, there was not a specific Carthaginian insignia.

Hannibal Barca has tons of information about the topic of the Carthaginian army insignias.

Concerning the Crescent Moon, it is actually a horizontal crescent above a circle, based on regiment, just like the Romans did with their battle standards. It is a symbol for the goddess Tanit, who is associated with fertility, war, and it is possible that infant sacrafice has been committed in her name.

The Golden sun of the Sacred Band was also probably a well known symbol to the other mediterranean.

The original Phonecians were not exactly a military power, and the Carthaginians were Phonecians, so it would be wrong to say that Carthage had its own specific symbols.

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    What is the "Golden sun of the Sacred Band"? Google produces a wide variety of images which are of questionable relevance.
    – MCW
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 19:02
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    This "mercenary" thing is a widespread meme that I have trouble buying into. Carthage at the time controlled Iberia and NW Africa. Calling those troops "mercenaries" is like calling the Roman Imperial legions "mercenaries" because most of the soldiers were Illyrian rather than Italian.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 19:59
  • @T.E.D. The difference is that the Romans had paid for the training and equipment of those soldiers themselves. Carthage did pay for the training and equipment of their African infantry and the sacred band, but most of their armies where composed of Celts, Numidians, Iberians, Greeks and later Italians. Some of those where mercenaries in the traditional sense of soldiers fighting only for pay, others would be levied from subject people.
    – Jeroen K
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 22:33

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