phalanx vs legion

At Heraclea and Asculum the tried and true Macedonian phalanx faced the Roman maniple that had only been established 40-100 years before. 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. This victory was mainly due to poorly commanded troops on Perseus's name (note, not Alexander hehe). The Roman infantry met the phalanx and did not break, but were steadily forced back towards the broken ground behind them. “The Legion as Phalanx,” Chiron 9:303–18. After the fall of mighty Carthage in the Second Punic War (202 BC) Rome began to prepare for the invasion of Greece. There are several key differences in the formations. 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. 'a handful') was a tactical unit of the Roman Republic adopted during the Samnite Wars (343–290 BC). 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. 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. 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. Even a minimally equipped and trained phalanx was still a forward moving force to be reckoned with. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. The organization from Homeric style hero warfare to tightly packed hoplite warfare was world changing. Why did the legion ultimately triumph on the field of battle?

From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The earliest Roman ventures across the Adriatic had occurred before the Second Punic War. 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 maps, if a bit creative, are quite good, and most of the illustrations are useful. The reconstruction of the battle is based on Polybius account from Histories,book 18, 24-27. Embedded by Arienne King, published on 04 October 2019. In Band of Brothers, Malarkey Asks a German POW Where he Was From, He Answered Eugene, Oregon. In celebration of the book, please leave a comment detailing what you think is a classic legion vs phalanx battle. By William McLaughlin for War History Online, Concentration Camp Guard Who Hid in US for 75 Years Will Be Deported. 1992. 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. This book is a interesting analysis of the struggle between the legion and the phalanx. In small groups at first, the Romans dove into these narrow gaps in the lines and fought to widen them. 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 first combats were during Pyrrhus’ invasion of Italy in 280 BCE. "Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae." 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 battle is considered one of the best examples of manipular Roman legion superiority over the Macedonian phalanx in terms of flexibility and combat maneuvering. 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. Please check the original source(s) for copyright information. 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. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. Peter Connolly captures the action as the phalanx pins and pushes back the Romans on the level ground. Which would win a pitched battle—a phalanx or a legion? The phalanx was much more rigid, but overwhelmingly powerful in a frontal assault. Last edited by Phalanx300; 11-17-2009 at 13:25. Web. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. The Macedonian phalanx continued to be used from Germany to Egypt and did prove to be effective. Syntagma, . Myke Cole has written a new book covering ancient Hellenistic phalanx and Roman legion warriors. (2019, October 04). Phalanx vs Legion: Battle of Cynoscephalae. Legion Versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World, by Myke Cole, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, U.K., 2018, $30. The term legion also denotes the military system by which imperial Rome conquered and ruled the ancient world. Maksimus. One player takes the role of Pyrrhus and his Greek, Siracusan, and Tarentine forces, while the other controls Rome and her allies. 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. Syntagma, . 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. 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. This battle shows the ingenuity and freedoms allowed to Roman officers to enable them to make a battlefield decision that profoundly influenced the outcome. 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. 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. 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. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. 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. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The reconstruction of the battle is based on Polybius account from Histories,book 18 , 24-27. 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. From the time of Ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry phalanx dominated the battlefield. The best descriptions of the formations come from the historian Polybius. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/video/1830/. 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 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? 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. One army (which was smaller!) 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. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. Initially adopting a hoplite style phalanx due to influence from Southern Italian Hellenic colonies, the army eventually transformed into the flexible manipular legion. After Pyrrhus’ invasion, the Romans fought titanic wars against Carthage that brought them to superpower status in the Mediterranean. Legion versus Phalanx begins by asking a simple question. had half the troops missing for much of … 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. 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