Battle of Cynoscephalae #2

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Battle of Cynoscephalae #2

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:56 am

>>>> Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC) #2 <<<<
(#1 -- The two armies are suddenly aware of each other, and battle ensued.) Continued from B of C #1.

Both armies were marching in parallel with the highlands between them. King Phillip decided to take the Cynoscephalae Hills and sent a small force to take and hold this area. Flamininus who was not yet aware of Phillip’s progress sent a cavalry force and some light infantry to do a reconnaissance of the hills and the two met which resulted in their engagement. Both Commander’s were notified of the engagement growing in the hills and both sent reinforcements and the battle grew as more and more men and cavalry were thrown into the fray. Phillip reluctantly sent his troops into the broken terrain and finally ordered an attack with half the phalanx (approx. 8,000 men). Flamininus, forced to make a decision, and defend his forces which were being driven, set up his defenses as follow: His right wing of the army he held in reserve behind the elephant line and then took his left wing in attack against the King. Now the Romans were formed at the base of the ridge, while Phillip and one half of his phlanx occupied the high ground with the other half of the phlanx on the far side of the ridge. These pikemen were marching to take their place on the left of Philip’s line of battle;

>>>> The Battle Begins <<<<
With the spaced organization of the Roman mantiple, as it was designed, such allowed the Roman screening force to escape the pusuing Macedonians. Phillip’s troops, in their turn, fled from the Roman heavy infantry, when they were seen, which then pushed ahead. Flamininus had command of his left half of his legion, while the right side was left in reserve and behind the line of elephants.
Holding the high ground now, Philip directed his right phlanx to charge down on the Roman left, and they slowly pushed the Romans down the terrain slopes. Unfortunatley for Phillip, his left wing and center commanded by Nicanor never managed to form up as necessary and required, The Roman Left (heavy infantry) did not break and fought the Macedonions with a fierce tenacity.

>>>> The Battle is balanced and then changes the other way<<<<

The Roman right slowly retreated downslope under the pressure of Phillp’s phlanx, and Flaminius ordered his right legion up the slope to attack the as yet unformed Macedonians, and he directed the charge of the elephants into the confused formation as well. At a critical moment an unamed Roman Tribune seeing that the Roman Left was slowly overtaking the Macedonians, ordered some twenty mantiples (approximently 2,000 men or about a half of a legion) to follow him, and without specific orders from Flamininus attacked the rear of the still unorganized Macedonian left wing. Faced with a Roman attack from the rear and the Roman attacks from the front the Macedonians were unable to reposition their forces. They raised their sarissas as a symbl of surrender , but the Romans either not knowing that such a action indicated surrender or not caring, simply continued the attack. The Macedonian line broke and panicked. Finding themselves surrounded by Roman forces, the troops of Phillip fled and as a result suffered heavy casualties.
End of Part #2 of this battle.

>> One drawing which shows the movements of this battle in the first elements of the conflict are now in my blog;

Blog name: “Studies of Ancient Rome,” (
To Be Continued.
Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens

Re: Battle of Cynoscephalae #3

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:45 pm

Salvete All;
This is the final part of my write-up about the above battle. I hope that you enjoyed it.
Marcus Audens


>>>> Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC) #3 <<<<

(#2 -- Finding themselves surrounded by Roman forces the troops of Phillip fled, and as a a result, suffered heavy casuaties.) Continued from B of C #2.

>>> Aftermath:
Following the battle, there was a brief search and pursuit of both Phillip and his forces, but this was soon abandoned. In relation to the losses of both sides, both the historians Livy and Polybius claim that some 8,000 Macedonians lost their lives in this battle. Other claims of greater losses have been recorded, but dismissed as “boundless exaggeration.” Flamininus, it is also said took some 5,000 Macedonian prisoners. Approximently 2,000 soldiers were lost to the Roman side, and many , many more were wounded.

After a brief pursuit, Flamininus allowed Philip to escape. According to Polybius and Livy, 8,000 Macedonians had been killed. Livy mentions that other sources claim 32,000 Macedonians were killed and even one writer who due to "boundless exaggeration" claims 40,000 but concludes that Polybius is the most trustworthy source on this matter.[2] Flamininus also took 5,000 prisoners. It was said that the Romans lost about 2,000 men and many more wounded, while Polybius puts the Roman losses at 700 dead.

Between this battle and the later Battle of Pynda the Roman legion’s ability in the field was certainly proven. Further, it became obvious that the flexibility demonstrated on the field in the movements of the Roman forces far outshone the ability of the Macedonian Phalanx. It was obvious also, that while the phalanx was a powerful tool when faced in a head-on situation and on fairly level ground, it did not have the flexibility nor the adaptability of the Roman legion. Some have objected to this view, pointing out that the left wing of the Macedonian force was not fully formed, but even this looks to the unwieldyness of the phalanx in the field. Whatever the implications of this battle were to the military formations of the period, the result of this battle was a significant blow to the hopes of the kingdom of Macedonia and to th plans of King Phillip. The Roman plans for expansion in the Mediterranean world would never again be challenged by Macedonia. King Phililp was allowed by Flamininus to regain his kingdom without any attempt to sever it in any way, however those Greek countries that were previously under the Macedonian yoke, were to now be free. Phillip himself was required to do the following, as recompense for his attempt to stop the Roman machine:

>>> Pay 1,000 talents of silver to Rome as partial payment for the damage of the war;
>>> Disband all of his navy, and most of his army;
>>> Send his son to Rome as a hostage for further peaceful views toward Rome’s expansion.

End of Part #3 of this battle.

>> One drawing which shows the movements of this battle in the last elements of the conflict will soon be in my blog, just a soon as I can get it drawn up!
Blog name: “Studies of Ancient Rome,” (
Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens

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