The Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BCE)

FlamininusThe Battle of Cynoscephalae (June 197) became famous because Roman legions, commanded by Titus Quinctius Flamininus (the portrait is from the museum of Delphi) defeated king Philip V‘s Macedonian phalanx. The army that had once been the best in the world and had defeated Persian kings, Indian raja’s, and Sogdian nomads, now had to recognize that the legions were better. The key to the Roman victory, however, was that the site of the battle was extremely hilly, hardly the place where a phalanx could be employed.

The site was identified by the famous military historian N.G.L. Hammond, who published his theory in 1988. I visited the place some fifteen years ago and made several slides. A kind Albanian shepherd helped me find the well near the remains of one of the Roman camps, and kept the dogs away. Your satellite photo is here and Polybius’ famous analysis of the battle – a military classic – is here.

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