Dubbed the “the best horsemen in Africa,” the Numidian Cavalry was used by Hannibal Barca – a Carthaginian general considered one of the best military commanders in history. The Cavalry fought during the Second Punic War. They also fought in the Battle of Cannae where they were instrumental in beating the Roman Army.
The Numidian Cavalry used horses in battle. Their horses were small but efficient. The horsemen rode without saddles, just a rope tied around the horse’s neck. They also were absent of heavy weaponry and armor. They only used javelins and a short sword.
The Numidian’s efficiency lied in their ability to fight small-scale battles. What they lacked in number and munitions they made up for in military tactics. This was proven by the use of their javelins to toss at their opponents while forming unpredictable formations and then retreating.
The cavalry also fought in the battle of Zama and was later employed by the Romans in small units.
The Numidians were a Berber tribe that originated from present-day Algeria (Numidia) and Tunisia. They were one of the first groups to trade with the Carthaginians.
The largest Numidian kingdom, the Masaesyli were led by Syphax.