Which would win a pitched battle—a phalanx or a legion? Why did the legion ultimately triumph on the field of battle? Myke Cole’s biography is diverse and he brings that diversity into the book. You need variety; missile and cavalry troops give you options. The term legion also denotes the military system by which imperial Rome conquered and ruled the ancient world. With all the expertise of a 12 minute video, I cant see how this really shows it. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. In small groups at first, the Romans dove into these narrow gaps in the lines and fought to widen them. True? The last great example of maniple and phalanx battle is found at the battle of Pydna during the third Macedonian war between Rome and Perseus. The author’s work focused on Hellenistic and Roman military unit formations with a tactical analysis. In Band of Brothers, Malarkey Asks a German POW Where he Was From, He Answered Eugene, Oregon. 11-17-2009, 13:44 #24. 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. Not sure how many accounts there are of the Hoplite Phalanx vs the Legion. Three major battles were fought with the first two being Pyrrhic victories for Pyrrhus. 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. Peter Connolly captures the action as the phalanx pins and pushes back the Romans on the level ground. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Legion, a military organization, originally the largest permanent organization in the armies of ancient Rome. (2000-year-old spoiler alert: The legion wins) The question explored in this book is: Why. The first combats were during Pyrrhus’ invasion of Italy in 280 BCE. 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. Polybius states that the biggest weakness of the phalanx is its uselessness in rugged terrain, but we know that under competent leadership the phalanx had won victories even while crossing rivers. 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. It was also the name of the military insignia carried by such unit.. Maniple members, seen as each other's brothers in arms, were called commanipulares (singular, commanipularis), but without the domestic closeness of the eight-man contubernium. At Heraclea and Asculum the tried and true Macedonian phalanx faced the Roman maniple that had only been established 40-100 years before. 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. Embedded by Arienne King, published on 04 October 2019. Maniple (Latin: manipulus, lit. Both are brilliant commanders but Alexander never faced an equal commander, Caesar did, Vercingetorix or Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus to Name the most famous ones. 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. Pyrrhus won these battles but the maniples put forth a valiant effort and caused heavy casualties. 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. In the foreground, a maniple has exploited a gap in the arrayed pikes of the white shield phalanx. 1992. Most of its vast docking bays were deserted, and the Imperium's inability to replicate its ancient technologies resulted in even minor damage creating signific… The maps, if a bit creative, are quite good, and most of the illustrations are useful. Syntagma, . 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. Legion versus Phalanx begins by asking a simple question. The titanic struggle between Rome and Carthage had prevented the Roman's from pursuing a policy of all out war against the Greeks. USS Nevada Found Off Coast Of Pearl Harbour, Special Forces Jerry “Mad Dog” Shriver Packed as Many as Six Revolvers, Sawn off Shotgun & His Regular Machine Gun. In celebration of the book, please leave a comment detailing what you think is a classic legion vs phalanx battle. “The Legion as Phalanx,” Chiron 9:303–18. 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. In his histories, Polybius directly address the strengths and weakness of both formations. (2019, October 04). 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. The earliest Roman ventures across the Adriatic had occurred before the Second Punic War. Carthage is a neutral power that can ally with either side. The Roman manipular legion and the Macedonian phalanx were each pivotal factors in the successes of their states, but was one formation actually better than the other? 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. The best descriptions of the formations come from the historian Polybius.

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Phalanx vs Legion : Battle of Cynoscephalae July 2020 The roman victory in the battle of Cynoscephalae ( 197 BC ) marked the end of the second macedonian war … Each of the battles mention featured varying skill and experiences for the commanders and the armies in general. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 04 Oct 2019. The video and its description text are provided by Youtube. 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. 1 vs 1 the Legion won't stand a chance. 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. Syntagma, . After the fall of mighty Carthage in the Second Punic War (202 BC) Rome began to prepare for the invasion of Greece. This victory was mainly due to poorly commanded troops on Perseus's name (note, not Alexander hehe). In Rome I I'd make sure to field as much missile troops as I could to decimate the phalanx before they got to my infantry. There are several key differences in the formations. PHALANX vs LEGION . The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Built to sustain a Legion, it was far too large to be garrisoned by a mere Chapter of Space Marines. Problem is that phalanx is a formation, 'legion' is a unit..it's like comparing apples to elephants. Posted on May 3, 2018 by MSW. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia. By M32, the Phalanx was already in a state of decay. While Alexander’s empire grew and fragmented, The Romans were busy with their arduous task of conquering Italy. Legion Versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World, by Myke Cole, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, U.K., 2018, $30. The decisive battle happened on flat ground not too far from the site of Thermopylae. Myke Cole has written a new book covering ancient Hellenistic phalanx and Roman legion warriors. The reconstruction of the battle is based on Polybius account from Histories,book 18, 24-27. The expanding early Roman Republic found the Greek phalanx formation too The armies of Rome and Philip’s phalanx army met at Cynoscephalae, with a large hill separating the two camps. 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? had half the troops missing for much of … 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. Last edited by Phalanx300; 11-17-2009 at 13:25. The phalanx was much more rigid, but overwhelmingly powerful in a frontal assault. “Legion vs.Phalanx: The Credibility of Polybius 18.28–32,” paper delivered at the 124th Annual My negative thoughts on … Myke Cole uses six battles where the two fighting systems clashed, along with the history surrounding them, to discuss this. The two formations actually met in battle a handful of times with varied results. Join Date Oct 2007 Location Belgrade, Serbia Posts 1,186. 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. WAB Macedonian Phalanx vs. Roman Legion. The two armies lined up, each splitting the cavalry on the wings and the Macedonian phalanx advanced. The Roman manipular formation was quite a unique layout. The Macedonian phalanx took the concept of cohesive group warfare to another level with the sarissa armed phalangites and under Philip and Alexander, steamrolled every opponent in front of them. The organization from Homeric style hero warfare to tightly packed hoplite warfare was world changing. After Pyrrhus’ invasion, the Romans fought titanic wars against Carthage that brought them to superpower status in the Mediterranean. Syntagma, . Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/video/1830/. 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. The game covers the invasions of Southern Italy and Sicily by Pyrrhus, and his campaigns against Rome and Carthage. 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 … Web. Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. 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. 'a handful') was a tactical unit of the Roman Republic adopted during the Samnite Wars (343–290 BC). Last modified October 04, 2019. From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Details for these battles are scarce but while it seems that though the phalanx did indeed steamroll through the Romans, it was done with great difficulty and at Beneventum the flexibility of the maniples allowed them to seize the openings made by the rampaging elephants to cause a rout. 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 maniple was fluid, with each maniple led by centurions who were encouraged to take initiative and lead by example. From the time of ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry Phalanx dominated the battlefield. This battle shows the ingenuity and freedoms allowed to Roman officers to enable them to make a battlefield decision that profoundly influenced the outcome. Ancient History Encyclopedia. By William McLaughlin for War History Online, Concentration Camp Guard Who Hid in US for 75 Years Will Be Deported. This battle is often considered to be a victory of the Roman legion's flexibility over the phalanx's inflexibility unfairly. Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. Did That Actually Happen? Meanwhile, the remaining Roman right wing advanced up the hill and met the rest of Philips army as they were arriving in bunches. The Roman legion proved itself superior against both. $4.5 million buys you a P51 Mustang & twenty, yes TWENTY Merlin engines! View Profile View Forum Posts View Blog Entries View Articles Member Member. 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. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. The Roman infantry met the phalanx and did not break, but were steadily forced back towards the broken ground behind them. Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. 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. Original video by Syntagma. Cole clearly loves the subject. Until, that is, the Roman legion emerged to challenge them as masters of infantry battle. 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. This book is a interesting analysis of the struggle between the legion and the phalanx. The battles selected are interesting and highlights each formation’s weaknesses and strengths. 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. 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 battle is considered the main example of manipular roman legion superiority over the macedonian phalanx in terms of flexibility and combat maneuvering. According to independent scholar Myke Cole, we needn’t rely on … This website claims no authorship of this content; we are republishing it for educational purposes. by Jeff Jonas. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. 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. I'm often asked questions such as this: "Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae." 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 only phalanx with that level of experience would have been Alexander IIIs, and he basically never got into a situation where his phalanx needed to adapt to a changing situation. Even a minimally equipped and trained phalanx was still a forward moving force to be reckoned with. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. The author has quite a few thoughtful insights into the nature of classical warfare. The Macedonians outnumbered the Romans about 44,000 to 29,000 but both forces were equal in cavalry. ———. The author has quite a few thoughtful insights into the nature of classical warfare. The reconstruction of the battle is based on Polybius account from Histories,book 18 , 24-27. The flexibility of the maniples allowed them to surround and destroy each unit until the rest of Philip’s forces fled. This book is a interesting analysis of the struggle between the legion and the phalanx. In Rome Polybius studied Roman warfare and so had experience with both phalanx and maniple style warfare. 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. The maps, if a bit creative, are quite good, and most of the illustrations are useful. Please check the original source(s) for copyright information. Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. 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. One army (which was smaller!) 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. 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 pliability of the Roman maniple allowed them to fight in any size group from whole legion advances to the individual soldier, ready for any occasion on the battlefield with two javelins, a large shield, and an effective gladius. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 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. Well, the first part is a bit difficult but would put my bet on Caesar. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. 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. The Good – Legion vs Phalanx is highly readable. Maksimus. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. https://www.ancient.eu/video/1830/. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. "Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae." 23 Dec 2020. My negative thoughts on … This powerful Hellenic formation allowed the ancient Greeks to hold off the powerful Persian invasion and spread Hellenic culture throughout the Mediterranean. 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. Armies phalanx vs legion ancient Sumeria, the army eventually transformed into the book, please leave a comment what... It was far too large to be used from Germany to Egypt and did prove be! Legion as phalanx, ” paper delivered at the 124th Annual phalanx legion. That can ally with either side ’ s forces fled uses six battles where the two camps diverse he. 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