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Mark Ruddick

Location: Torquay
Joined: 21 Mar 2011

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon 21 Mar, 2011 2:50 am    Post subject: Roman Carthage Naval Battle for UK Film         Reply with quote

Hi Everyone

My name is Mark and I am a stunt coordinator and stage combat specialist. I am currently working with Realm Pictures ( on a new short film which is set during a Roman vs Carthage naval battle. I am looking for advice, articles, books, DVD's and specialists to aid me in my research of Roman Carthaginian naval warfare looking at tactics, transport, weapons and armour.

The film's Executive Producers are Pepsi UK and Raindance Film Festival and the final product will be screened internationally to audiences including Peter Jackson and other prestigious film makers.

We are not looking for 100% historical accuracy since if an audience is worried about what design of broach the characters are wearing or the authenticity of the nails in the ship we're not doing our jobs as film makers right. We do however need the big things like the weapons, armour and the general style of the boats and fighting tactics to be correct and that is where you come in.

If anyone has anything to say about this area of history or the topics mentioned above then please get in contact. You can view more about this project at

and more about me at

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say

all the best

Mark Ruddick

 Attachment: 209.35 KB
This is one of our first pieces of concept art for this project it was done by Chris Goff [ Download ]

My name is Mark Ruddick and I am the stunt coordinator for Realm Pictures ( Our next project is set at the time of the Roman and Carthaginian naval conflict and I am looking for any and all the information I can about the weapons, transport, armour and tactics of that period. If anyone feels they would like to help me out I look forward to hearing from you.
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Kurt Scholz

Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Mon 21 Mar, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I spent quite some time writing a long text on the subject and suddenly a bug deletd it. Will try again another time. there are lots of misconceptions about Rome, Carthage and the sea. take a look at the Marsala shipwreck, especially the food.
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Kurt Scholz

Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Mon 21 Mar, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

During which war should this battle be? Carthage changed their naval armament and fighting style quite a lot in order to match Rome. Another issue is that what you call Carthage is possibly a federation of Carthage and Utica at that time.
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Kurt Scholz

Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Mon 21 Mar, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On my way home I was invited for a beer and hey presto, I had some ideas.

If you present Carthage's last naval battle, you have all vessels for the Carthaginian side ready at hand. The Roman side stays as difficult as it will be in any case. In this last battle, Carthage fought with 50 triremes, that would be the Marsala shipwrecks with more oars in the same space, against a much much larger Roman and allied fleet. In addition the Carthaginians were supported by innumerable boats that attacked the Roman rowing and steering oars and burned holes into the Roman ships (nice to reconstruct that). The Punic boat design has been preserved in Malta for thousands of years as traditional wooden fishing boat, including paint. So it's quite easy to get a realistic impression of these boats (I suggest to take the liberty and add a roof against the Roman pila). This naval engagement has the advantage that it's the only sea battle between Rome and Carthage for which we have an eyewitness report by the historian Polybius. The Roman allies made quite a clever invention during this battle. They dropped their anchors, then rowed fast forward to ram and afterwards pulled their ships back via their anchors without turning. This way the Carthaginians couldn't damage them anymore. The story nicely illustrates Carthage's constant reliance on ramming, how the Romans learned their trade from them and finally how the Romans had always the upper hand in boarding with their higher ships that weren't as seaworthy on the other hand.
The event is part of the highly dramatic siege of Carthage. There you have the starving women and children building a secret channel in order to maintain their lifeline of outside support because the Romans are very successfully building a dam across their old harbour entrance. Before the sea battle you have a sortie of the whole Carthaginian fleet and there's a never-ending discussion why they didn't try to destroy the beached Roman ships. Personally, I would suggest two reasons; one is that in the reports of sieges on Punic towns in the Second and Third Punic War, you have city defenders trying to initially fight outside the walls. It may have been culturally, that they thought: "Hey, if we successfully show our power outside the walls, our enemy will be very afraid of the more difficult fight against us on the walls." Another point could be that they went out, drank the equivalent of a schnaps for their bravery and were delighted to row back home alive and in one piece, after having challenged the greatest might in their known world. This might, the Roman Republic, had easily defeated the glorious Macedonians and nobody, but them, had the guts to challenge it at sea. The Macedonian case reports how brutal gladius wounds could look to other nations and the Romans liked to do this in order to spread terror.

Writing down all my known knowns about the naval warfare between Carthage and Rome would take me about a day. Researching for all my known unknowns would take me more than a week. I know several very savvy people to ask about my unknown unknowns, but I doubt they'll do much for free.
Doing a TV show on Carthage without the Tunisians on board is a sin because there's hardly anyone more knowledgeable on the topic. For them Carthage is their old civilization on their soil. In former times Tunis was a suburb of Carthage; today Carthage is a suburb of Tunis. This civilization was a democracy, made outstanding feats of exploration, had honest traders and their great hero Hannibal fought misappropriation of funds by the ruling class. The countryside of Carthage, called Ifriqa alias Afriqa became so important that the whole continent was named after it, today's Africa. Looking from this perspective on the current turmoil in Tunisia, you can perhaps get a sense what the legend of Carthage means to them and how much enthusiasm it can create in one of the oldest countries of this continent.

So if you can tell me more about what you want to do and for which channel this production is intended, send me a PM.
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