This battle is often considered to be a victory of the Roman legion's flexibility over the phalanx's inflexibility unfairly. Embedded by Arienne King, published on 04 October 2019. The javelins thrown by the maniples were also an effective formation breaking tool used to lessen the impact of enemy charges or create holes to exploit with their own charge. The battle is considered one of the best examples of manipular Roman legion superiority over the Macedonian phalanx in terms of flexibility and combat maneuvering. Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. You need variety; missile and cavalry troops give you options. As the long phalanx line pushed forward, they began to break formation as some areas pushed forward more than others and the uneven ground began to break the formation. Legion versus Phalanx begins by asking a simple question. The battles certainly showcase the manipular legion’s flexibility over the powerful but stiff Macedonian phalanx, but it would have been impossible with all the different variables to find a perfect battlefield matchup of the two formations. Original video by Syntagma. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. Repelled 30 Taliban: 400 Rounds, Launched 17 Grenades, Detonated a Mine, and Used His Tripod as a Weapon, Battlefield Relics: Bolshoy Tyuters an abandoned island – full of WWII relics left by the German army (image heavy), The WWII Ace Whose Helicopter was Attacked by the World’s Largest Snake, Marine John Basilone Would Decimate an Entire Japanese Regiment In the Pitch-Black Jungle of Guadalcanal, Georg Gartner: A German Soldier who lived in the US for 40 years under a false identity after he escaped from a POW camp. The video and its description text are provided by Youtube. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. The phalanx was much more rigid, but overwhelmingly powerful in a frontal assault. I'm often asked questions such as this: The Roman victory in the Battle of Cynoscephalae ( 197 BC ) marked the end of the Second Macedonian War between Rome and Philip V, king of Macedon. By M32, the Phalanx was already in a state of decay. The Roman legion proved itself superior against both. The Roman legions did meet both the Macedonian phalanx (the more advanced version of the traditional Greek hoplite phalanx, which rendered the hoplite obsolete), as well the the older Greek hoplite phalanx. The individual soldier of the phalanx was tied to the cohesion of his unit, but had the safety of multiple spearheads between the front row and the enemy. Barely after wrapping up the second Punic war, the Romans invaded Macedon to take the fight to Philip V, who had been an ally of Carthage and was now harassing Roman-allied Hellenic cities. The author has quite a few thoughtful insights into the nature of classical warfare. This transformation was likely a result of the Samnite wars fought in the varied mountainous terrain of central Italy where the Romans needed a more adaptable formation. Myke Cole has written a new book covering ancient Hellenistic phalanx and Roman legion warriors. PHALANX vs LEGION . This battle shows the ingenuity and freedoms allowed to Roman officers to enable them to make a battlefield decision that profoundly influenced the outcome. Philip decided to take the initiative and marched out first with the right half of his phalanx, so that they could take the hill and attack downhill. Pyrrhus won these battles but the maniples put forth a valiant effort and caused heavy casualties. While advancing an unnamed officer noticed that they were marching right past the vulnerable rear of the Macedonian right phalanx and peeled off a large enough force to flank the engaged phalanx and quickly rout them. The Macedonian phalanx continued to be used from Germany to Egypt and did prove to be effective. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. In a straight up fight which would win, the legion or the phalanx? As gaps grew, more, presumably fresh, men from the rear lines were fed through to completely infiltrate dozens of segments of the phalanx and the Macedonians soon broke. Romans were fiercely brave, and it took quite a feat of bravery to be among the first to jump into an enemy formation bristling with spears to open up gaps for your fellow soldiers. At the battle of Beneventum a few years later the Romans finally prevailed, with help from Pyrrhus’ elephants which charged back into his own lines. The cavalry fight was even but as soon as the infantry ran the cavalry followed suit. This transformation was likely a result of the Samnite wars fought in the varied mountainous terrain of central Italy where the Romans needed a more adaptable formation. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. After the fall of mighty Carthage in the Second Punic War (202 BC) Rome began to prepare for the invasion of Greece. With three lines, one behind the other the Romans deployed in separate maniples with each line having a maniple-sized gap between units, with those gaps covered by the next line back creating a checkerboard formation. Did That Actually Happen? My negative thoughts on … Ancient History Encyclopedia. From the time of ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry Phalanx dominated the battlefield. The decisive battle happened on flat ground not too far from the site of Thermopylae. Myke Cole’s biography is diverse and he brings that diversity into the book. The battle is considered one of the best examples of manipular Roman legion superiority over the Macedonian phalanx in terms of flexibility and combat maneuvering. Legion Versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World, by Myke Cole, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, U.K., 2018, $30. The battles selected are interesting and highlights each formation’s weaknesses and strengths. There are several key differences in the formations. ———. The armies of Rome and Philip’s phalanx army met at Cynoscephalae, with a large hill separating the two camps. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Myke Cole uses six battles where the two fighting systems clashed, along with the history surrounding them, to discuss this. The flexibility of the maniples allowed them to surround and destroy each unit until the rest of Philip’s forces fled.

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. The reconstruction of the battle is based on Polybius account from Histories,book 18 , 24-27. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. For the phalanx, the sixteen-man deep formation had the first five ranks with their spears extending out of the formation while the remaining ranks held their spears upright or at an angle to deflect missiles. The maniple was fluid, with each maniple led by centurions who were encouraged to take initiative and lead by example. 'a handful') was a tactical unit of the Roman Republic adopted during the Samnite Wars (343–290 BC). True? The battle is considered the main example of manipular roman legion superiority over the macedonian phalanx in terms of flexibility and combat maneuvering. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. 23 Dec 2020. In Band of Brothers, Malarkey Asks a German POW Where he Was From, He Answered Eugene, Oregon. This last battle shows the small unit tactics for which the maniple was built towards but also shows how well the maniple fit the Romans as a people. Until, that is, the Roman legion emerged to challenge them as masters of infantry battle. Syntagma, . One player takes the role of Pyrrhus and his Greek, Siracusan, and Tarentine forces, while the other controls Rome and her allies. Cole’s work spans a time period from approximately the 3rd through the 2nd century BC battlefields with a discipline focus. This powerful Hellenic formation allowed the ancient Greeks to hold off the powerful Persian invasion and spread Hellenic culture throughout the Mediterranean. Why did the legion ultimately triumph on the field of battle? While Alexander’s empire grew and fragmented, The Romans were busy with their arduous task of conquering Italy. The organization from Homeric style hero warfare to tightly packed hoplite warfare was world changing. The best descriptions of the formations come from the historian Polybius. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. The individual Roman had more room to operate, with a large shield and effective sword allowing them to confidently engage and defend individually and as a group by locking shields. Both are brilliant commanders but Alexander never faced an equal commander, Caesar did, Vercingetorix or Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus to Name the most famous ones. The author has quite a few thoughtful insights into the nature of classical warfare. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. View Profile View Forum Posts View Blog Entries View Articles Member Member. By William McLaughlin for War History Online, Concentration Camp Guard Who Hid in US for 75 Years Will Be Deported. (2019, October 04). The game covers the invasions of Southern Italy and Sicily by Pyrrhus, and his campaigns against Rome and Carthage. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Built to sustain a Legion, it was far too large to be garrisoned by a mere Chapter of Space Marines. Last modified October 04, 2019. The exact method of this formation engaging in battle has been questioned due to the large gaps, but it seems that the gaps remained while engaged to allow the rear lines through to support when needed. Join Date Oct 2007 Location Belgrade, Serbia Posts 1,186. The Roman infantry met the phalanx and did not break, but were steadily forced back towards the broken ground behind them. The earliest Roman ventures across the Adriatic had occurred before the Second Punic War. Which would win a pitched battle—a phalanx or a legion? Raised in ancient Greece, Polybius fought in Hellenic battles before being sent to Rome as a hostage, though he was given great freedoms during his stay. Cole clearly loves the subject. WAB Macedonian Phalanx vs. Roman Legion. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and with overlapping shields, they presented an impenetrable wall of metal to the enemy until the Roman legion eclipsed the phalanx … This book is exactly what I expected when I picked it up, a fun opportunity to geek out about to technical aspects of ancient warfare, in this case the relative merits of the Macedonian Phalanx vs the Roman Legion. Carthage is a neutral power that can ally with either side. As the Roman left met them and held firm, the Roman right marched up the hill in order to deny the rest of Philip’s army the downhill advantage. The javelins thrown by the maniples were also an effective formation breaking tool used to lessen the impact of enemy charges or create holes to exploit with their own charge. Please check the original source(s) for copyright information. After Pyrrhus’ invasion, the Romans fought titanic wars against Carthage that brought them to superpower status in the Mediterranean. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder to shoulder with shields interlocking, the men of the phalanx presented an impenetrable wall of wood and metal to the enemy. The tight formation with the average phalangites taking up a frontage of three feet meant that, theoretically, the average soldier, who needed twice the frontage to operate with sword or spear, faced a total of ten spear points. “The Legion as Phalanx,” Chiron 9:303–18. Last edited by Phalanx300; 11-17-2009 at 13:25. 1992. Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. This victory was mainly due to poorly commanded troops on Perseus's name (note, not Alexander hehe).

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