Punic War Painting Guide – Spanish

This covers the Iberians (inc Balearic), Celtiberian and Lusitani. Check out my Field of Glory Ancient Spanish Army for more photos.

Item Description
Tunic White base with scarlet* decoration (national dress for all Spanish). For decorations see illustrations; minimum =strip around collar, cuffs, hem.

A few of the rich Iberians (like Generals) in red tunics with white trim

Celtiberians and Lusitani: I aimed for at most 1 in 12 tunics being black; rest are the normal white with red trim.

Polybius says Purple, but there are four problems with this:

  • Dye was expensive and purple dye was the most expensive, for example, only Roman Consuls wore purple.
  • Purple dye was expensive because it was hard to get; the only source I know of was in Palestine. There was no source in Spain.
  • It is much more likely that the predominant colour was red given Spain was a major exporter of this colour. According to Head (1982) Turdetania in southern Spain exported scarlet and red ochre dyes. So I picked scarlet.
  • I believe the Osprey Armies of the Carthaginian Wars specifies crimson instead of purple although i can’t confirm this as I don’t have the book.
Shield Shield Face: Bright and patterned. Lots of variety. See illustrations for patterns.
Edge of oval shield + boss: Iron
Note: Celtiberians/Lusitani would use both Iberian and Gallic shield patterns. Possibly evenly distributed.
Helmet Bowl if sinew (common): White* <== important
Bowl if metal: Bronze
Crest: Red, black, or white
* My sinew helmets are white ’cause that is what I thought they would have been at the time I painted them army, but people in general paint them anywhere from off-white to light brown.
Body Armour Mail: Iron
Scale: Iron or Bronze
one or more, square or round plates: Bronze including shoulder straps
Greaves (leg guard) Bronze
Hair (their own) Black or dark brown
Belt Base material: Leather
Fittings including plaques: Bronze, gold or silver
Sandals/boots + straps Base material: Leather
Fittings: Bronze
Sword and dagger Handle: Ivory or wood or iron
Scabbard: Wood or leather with bronze fittings, or entirely iron
Blade: Steel; a few Lusitani with Bronze
Javelin, pilum, spear Haft: Wood
Shaft + Blade: Steel; a few Lusitani with Bronze
Standard Emblem: Silver or bronze
Haft: Wood
Instruments Bronze or baked clay
Cloak Note: Rich (officers, cavalry) are more likely to vary
Black is common, plus a few with:

  • Iberian : scarlet
  • Celtiberian/Lustitani: About 1 in 3 is Gallic pattern (stripes or checks)


Iberian Slingers – Showing White tunics with red trim and shield patterns for small shields

Iberian Scutarii – Showing range of shield patterns plus sinew and metal helmets

More Iberian Scutarii

Celtiberian Scutarii – Showing Celtiberian Cloaks


Cavalry would be as the infantry but with richer costumes.

The horse: As you would expect, but Spain was famous for Duns (hence common).

The trappings: Steel, bronze, or silver fittings. Bright colours on straps, saddle, etc.

Iberian Large Shield Cavalry

Iberian Small Shield Cavalry


Iberian Generals – Show Iberian cloaks and Red tunics for Rich guys

Celtiberians and Lusitani

Celtiberians and Lusitani wore largely the same costume as the Iberians but with some occasional differences. These are the proportions I aimed for:

  • At most 1 in 12 tunics are black; rest are the normal white with red trim.
  • 1 in 3 of cloaks have Gallic patterns (stripes or checks); rest are black.
  • Shield patterns are evenly mixed, Iberian and Gallic.

Celtiberian Scutarii

Celtiberian Scutarii



Spanish Camp


Head, D. (1982). Armies of the Macedonian and Punic wars 359 BC to 146 BC. Wargames Research Group.

Treviño, R. (1986). Rome’s Enemies (4): Spanish Armies 218 BC – 19 BC. Osprey.

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