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Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 14 February 2013 16:44 EDT (US)         
Ok, so i was thinking the other day about the many what-if? moments in history, and realised we dont have a thread for one. So to get the ball rolling, i will ask a question that is a popular one in alternate history.

What would have been the consequences of Rome not being sucked into the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, and maintaining a hold over Germany? Would the area have been Romanized after a time? Would it be impossible to hold the area? Could the Empire lasted longer or collapsed earlier?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
AuthorReplies:
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 14 February 2013 17:39 EDT (US)     1 / 142       
I think Germania could've been Romanized over time, but the actual defense of the province would've been more difficult since the Rhine was a natural and easier border to defend than the vast forests of Germania. Because of that, I think it would've been a considerable drain on the empire's resources and proven to be more trouble than it was worth. As a consequence of the increased financial and military burden, the Romans would've done a strategic withdrawal behind the Rhine much like what they did in Britain when they abandoned the far northern Antonine Wall and fell back to the more easily held wall of Hadrian.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 14 February 2013 17:48 EDT (US)     2 / 142       
As you say, it may have been adabndoned either way, but what if the conquest of Germania was completed up to the Elbe, that is another very defensible river that is also quite long. Would this have assisted? Could it have been kept then?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 14 February 2013 18:16 EDT (US)     3 / 142       
I think it only would only added to the difficulty since the legion were already stretched pretty thing. They would've had to protect a lot more territory across a border even farther away from proper support and reinforcement from the capital than the Rhine was and if a revolt did happen in the province the men on the frontier would've been completely cutoff from any reinforcement.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 14 February 2013 19:20 EDT (US)     4 / 142       
I might ask Terikel to weigh in on this, since he is better versed in Germania than me, but i think he might agree with you DU. A another question for you DU, How would the landscape of the Ancient world have changed if the Selucids didnt collaspe when they did, and survived for 200-300 more years to come into contact with rome?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 14 February 2013 20:33 EDT (US)     5 / 142       
A another question for you DU, How would the landscape of the Ancient world have changed if the Selucids didnt collaspe when they did, and survived for 200-300 more years to come into contact with rome?
Ah you broached my favorite subject AE

If the Seleucid Empire hadn't collapsed the balance of power in the Near East would've been very different. At the time of Antiochus the Great's war with Rome (190 - 188 b.c.) the Seleucid Empire was undoubtedly the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean.Thanks to Antiochus' campaigns in the Upper Satrapies the Armenians, Parthians and the Bactrians had all been defeated into subservience and were once again vassals of the empire. After these campaigns Antiochus once again went to war with his family's age-old rival the Ptolemaic Empire, and once he was done the Ptolemies had lost not only southern Anatolia but also the entire Levant to the Seleucids after the Battle of Panium in 200 b.c. With Egypt reduced to impotence and the rebellious vassals brought to heel once again, it looked like nothing could stop the Seleucids from achieving the coveted title of rightful successor to Alexander the Great. Unfortunately, all of Antiochus' successes were undone when he arrogantly went to war with Rome and met with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Magnesia.

Had this not occured, I believe the Seleucids rather than the Parthians would've served as the rivals of the Romans for many centuries. If Antiochus exercised more restraint than he did and decided to focus on consolidation instead of European expansion, I believe he could've come to a peaceful agreement with the Roman Republic and conceded Europe to Roman domination while he focused on the Near East where it would've only been a matter of time before the lesser powers were absorbed by the Seleucid Empire. The military power of Ptolemaic Egypt was broken, Armenia, Parthia and Bactria were defeated and enthralled, and Pontus and Bithynia were terrified into unofficial servitude. The only real enemy the Seleucids had left was the Kingdom of Pergamum and the resilient men of the Attalid dynasty, but if the Seleucids attacked in-force they would've stood no chance.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 15 February 2013 04:52 EDT (US)     6 / 142       
Ah, a nice overview of the history. It is a good point you make about that then the Seleucids would have replaced Parthia as the arch rival of Rome in the near east. If the Romans didn't take it as well, they would have been cut off from the major suppler of finance for the later empire. Would this have made Rome collapse quicker? Or would they have looked into more expansion in other places, such as Gaul, then Germania?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 15 February 2013 06:27 EDT (US)     7 / 142       
If the Romans didn't take it as well, they would have been cut off from the major suppler of finance for the later empire. Would this have made Rome collapse quicker? Or would they have looked into more expansion in other places, such as Gaul, then Germania?
It definitely would've had an adverse effect on the Roman Empire, so much that there might never have been an 'Western' and 'Eastern' division of the empire as it happened historically. Not only would the Romans have been deprived of the riches provided by the great cities of the East, but they also would not have had access to Egypt, one of the great "bread baskets" that Rome historically relied on to feed its massive population. With the East denied to them, I can imagine the Romans expanding into Gaul, Germania and even Britain decades before they actually did but there would've been little plunder to be had there compared to the loot and revenue they gained from defeating the Seleucids, Pontics, Armenians and Parthians.

Actually, because massive amounts of wealth would not suddenly be injected into the Roman economy or into the pockets of the consuls there might never have been a collapse of the republican system of Rome in the first place. The East was a double-edged sword as while it gave the republic incredible amounts of revenue and manpower, it also led to an increase of corruption and infighting for positions in the eastern provinces where governors freely lined their pockets with a part of their province's income.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 15 February 2013 06:50 EDT (US)     8 / 142       
Well, I believe that even then the Romans could have conquered the Seleucids, as most of Antiochus' III successors weren't competent enough. Also, domestic strife was pretty frequent in the Hellenistic kingdoms...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 15 February 2013 07:39 EDT (US)     9 / 142       
Well, I believe that even then the Romans could have conquered the Seleucids, as most of Antiochus' III successors weren't competent enough. Also, domestic strife was pretty frequent in the Hellenistic kingdoms...
A common misconception. The many of the kings who immediately followed Antiochus III were very competent generals and statesmen.

Seleucus IV Philopator wisely followed a strategy of recovery and consolidation after the defeat at Magnesia and by the time of his death in 175 b.c. the war indemnity to Rome had been fully paid off.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a capable and energetic ruler, though he had a penchant for extravagant excess and he's more infamously known for persecuting the Jews and setting the Maccabean Revolt in motion. He was in the middle of a successful campaign against the Parthians when he suddenly died in 162 b.c.

Demetrius I Soter was a sharp statesmen and a capable general in his own right. After escaping from Rome in 161 b.c. he took the throne from his nephew Antiochus V before executing him and his regent Lysias. After this he defeated the Maccabeans and killed Judas Maccabaeus himself at the Battle of Elasa (though most historians agree that it was his general Bacchides who led the Seleucid forces to victory). However, in 160 b.c. Demetrius personally defeated and killed the usurper Timarchus of Media earning him the title 'Soter' (Savior) for liberating his Babylonian subjects from Timarchus' tyranny. He also dethroned Ariarathes V of Cappadocia and by 159 b.c. the heartlands of the Seleucid Empire had been fully restored. However, a usurper named Alexander Balas eventually rose to challenge him and with the support of Rome, Egypt and the Jews Alexander defeated and killed Demetrius in a great battle in 150 b.c.

Antiochus VII Sidetes took the throne following the disastrous reigns of Alexander Balas and Demetrius II Nicator, and he would go on to prove that the Seleucid dynasty had one more conqueror to show the world before fading into obscurity. Antiochus VII rebuilt defeated the usurper Diodotus Tryphon and eventually secured the loyalty of the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea before rebuilding the Seleucid army. With an army of 80,000 men he reconquered Mesopotamia, Media and western Persia from the Parthians who had seized these vital territories during the reigns of Alexander Balas and Demetrius II Nicator. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of billeting his army in hostile territory where he was ambushed and killed by the Parthian king Phraates II and the main Parthian army.

The period of dynastic strife was set in motion when Antiochus IV took the throne while Seleucus IV's true successor Demetrius I was held captive in Rome. Unlike the more ruthless Ptolemies, most of the Seleucid kings abhorred the idea of killing their relatives just to secure the throne and unfortunately their sense of honor guaranteed their eventual demise by civil war and familial strife.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

[This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 02-15-2013 @ 08:19 AM).]

Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 15 February 2013 13:56 EDT (US)     10 / 142       
Your point is true, Dom (even though I have some objections on Seleucus IV). I wonder though, what would have happened had Antigonus Monophthalmus not been defeated in the battle of Ipsus. Would he have the ability to unite Alexander's empire?

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 15 February 2013 14:37 EDT (US)     11 / 142       
Your point is true, Dom (even though I have some objections on Seleucus IV). I wonder though, what would have happened had Antigonus Monophthalmus not been defeated in the battle of Ipsus. Would he have the ability to unite Alexander's empire?
Is it because Seleucus IV didn't conduct any campaigns of expansion? The empire had just suffered a major defeat and lost a capable ruler within a very small time frame, as well has having to pay a huge war indemnity of 15,000 talents (5,000 more than Carthage and 14,000 more than Macedon). To conduct a military campaign under such conditions would've been insane and costly enough to bankrupt the kingdom, so Seleucus IV did the only thing he could do and quietly pay the war debt while keeping on good terms with all of his neighbors. Perhaps he would've gone on a campaign to reconquer the eastern satrapies as his father did once the indemnity had been paid, but we'll never no for sure since he was betrayed and murdered by his minister Heliodorus.

Out of all the successors, I believe only Seleucus and Antigonus had the will and strength of character to possibly reunite and rule Alexander's empire. Unfortunately, Antigonus made the mistake of making enemies out of all of his neighbors (much like what happened to Jetkill in the map game) and being forced to face them all at once instead of one at a time. Seleucus proved himself to be the most successful of the original Diadochi since he managed to claim almost all of Alexander's empire except for Egypt, Macedonia and Greece, but he made the mistake of keeping a disinherited boy in his camp and he was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus as soon as he stepped foot on European soil.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 15 February 2013 15:11 EDT (US)     12 / 142       
...and then came the Gauls and ruined everything in mainland Greece. However, could Antigonus ever conquer Seleucus' I kingdom? I highly doubt it.

BTW, 1000th post...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.

[This message has been edited by Alex_the_Bold (edited 02-15-2013 @ 03:13 PM).]

DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 15 February 2013 19:40 EDT (US)     13 / 142       
Actually, Antigonus did try to stop Seleucus in a conflict known as the Babylonian War. In this grossly overlooked conflict, Seleucus not only managed to defeat many of Antigonus' generals but also outmaneuver and best Demetrius Poliorcertes and Antigonus himself all while being constantly outnumbered. If that doesn't solidify Seleucus' position as one of the greatest generals of Antiquity, then I don't know what does.

Edit - A belated congratulations on your 1,000th post Alex

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

[This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 02-15-2013 @ 07:47 PM).]

Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 19 February 2013 17:38 EDT (US)     14 / 142       
Ok, i have another popular one.

What if Alexander turned West instead of east, or begun his Western campaign after hist stay in Babylonia in which he died?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 20 February 2013 04:06 EDT (US)     15 / 142       
Alexander going west instead of east? Well for one thing I doubt he would have gone native in Gaul to the same extent that he did in Persia! And if he wanted to find the ends of the earth, it would have come a lot sooner in the west.

Didn't the Romans, or possibly just Arrian, consider the question of what would happen if Alexander had attacked them? The brief conclusion was that they would have beaten him in the end, but I doubt that. In the Macedonian Wars the Romans won without any serious difficulty, but the armies they faced were very different from those which Alexander led. His heavy infantry were capable of doing far more than sitting still in a phalanx, and he had a by far more numerous cavalry contingent. The Romans had no cavalry that was worth speaking of. Alexander won set piece battles on the hammer and anvil principle - fix the enemy in place with infantry and then break him line with a devastating cavalry charge. The early Roman army would struggle to contain that, as they always did when faced with large numbers of heavy cavalry, as they were designed for a straight infantry slog. But they never had to face it in the Macedonian Wars as the abundance of cavalry had gone and now the Macedonian infantry were expected to win battles on their own, something which they were never designed to do.

So although Rome would have posed a more difficult opponent than Alexander found in Persia, I can't see them resisting him on the battlefield level other than through ambush and quick attacks before his phalanx was properly formed. Even that would be difficult as this was an army and a nation at the peak of its powers. It believed in itself, and that counts for a lot. And on a campaign level they could expect no mercy. If Alexander won a battle he wouldn't hang around and allow the Romans to recover, he'd go straight for the jugular and put Rome under siege.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 20 February 2013 07:57 EDT (US)     16 / 142       
The question of what may have happened if Alexander had gone West instead of East is one that I have not answered in a long time.

Realistically, Alexander had no reason to Westwards and into Europe proper. With the exception of the colonies and cities established by the Carthaginian Republic, most of Europe was unexplored and unknown to "civilized" people so there was no telling whether it was worth the trouble of conquering or not. In contrast the incredible wealth, prosperity and immense scale of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and the lands of the East was well-known to the Greeks and Macedonians. For any aspiring conqueror, such as Alexander, they were presented the choice of going west and facing unknown enemies while conquering territory that might have held considerable wealth and untapped resources, or going eastwards against a well-known and established enemy but being all but guaranteed immense riches and dominion of near-legendary lands if he defeated them. For Alexander, and indeed for almost any other man, the choice was easy and because of that we have the legend of Alexander the Great to study and reflect upon.

Now supposing he did march westwards he undoubtedly would've come into contact with Rome, which wasn't anywhere near the martial powerhouse it would be during the Punic Wars or even the Pyrrhic War several decades later. At that time the Roman Republic consisted of Rome and most of central Italy, and thus it did not yet possess the considerable reserves of manpower it would use to grind down his cousin Pyrrhus of Epirus. However, I'm fairly confident that the Romans would've made a decent fight out of it and for a time they would've bogged Alexander down in a slogging match though I believe Alexander would've won for three chief reasons:

  • His men were more experienced, well-trained and employed combined arms tactics whereas the Romans were still almost entirely reliant on the heavy infantry of their legions. Alexander would therefore have the ability to create innovative and decisive tactics using the various troop types at his disposal and it's doubtful that the Romans could've kept pace and adapted before these took their toll on their soldiers.

  • Alexander was much closer to his power base in Macedon and would therefore have far more reserves of manpower than Pyrrhus. He'd be more than able to take whatever losses he suffered against the Romans and carry the war to it inevitable and blood conclusion.

  • As ShieldWall pointed out, Alexander possessed a far different mindset than Pyrrhus or even Hannibal. He was very skilled and innovative when it came to siege warfare, and once he had the Romans on the ropes and driven back into Rome he wouldn't simply try to overawe them with his army or his victories. He would've besieged the city and eventually assaulted it and had the Romans killed or enslaved to the last man, woman and child.

    As much as the Romans, and modern Romanophiles, would like to say otherwise Alexander probably would've crushed them and barely given a second thought to the Roman people. After this, he either would've continued conquering Italy before marching into Gaul or he would've gone to Sicily and come into conflict with Carthage and Syracuse. Either way the World, as we know it, would be a very different place today since so much of American and European culture was drawn from the model established by the Romans.

  • "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Pitt
    Tribunus Laticlavius
    posted 21 February 2013 07:30 EDT (US)     17 / 142       
    Plutarch says that, during the Pyrrhic war, Appius Claudius reminded the Roman Senators of their claim that if Alexander the Great had turned west, they would have defeated him.

    Whether they had said any such thing at the time is completely uncertain, though they may have after the conquest of Macedonia.

    Given the difficulties they faced against Pyrrhus, there's more than a little doubt that Rome could have prevailed against a determined Alexander with his full army. Pyrrhus may have had elephants and been considered a great general (though lacking in strategic sense), but he didn't have the determination, or quite possibly the military capacity, to press any advantages he gained after his hard-won victories.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Alex_the_Bold
    Legionary
    posted 21 February 2013 15:30 EDT (US)     18 / 142       
    Actually, Alexander of Epirus, Alexander the Great's uncle, crossed to Italy and was very successful. Had he not died in battle, he could have united the Greek colonies and possibly defeated Rome.

    Just a point, DU.
    Alexander was much closer to his power base in Macedon and would therefore have far more reserves of manpower than Pyrrhus. He'd be more than able to take whatever losses he suffered against the Romans.
    Actually, Epirus is closer to Italy than Macedon...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 21 February 2013 15:40 EDT (US)     19 / 142       
    Actually, Epirus is closer to Italy than Macedon...
    Haha I know Alex, I tend to get a little fired up when I talk about Alexander so I made a bit of a mistake when I typed that. Still, you cannot deny Alexander would've had a much larger pool of manpower than Pyrrhus if he fought the Romans.
    Actually, Alexander of Epirus, Alexander the Great's uncle, crossed to Italy and was very successful. Had he not died in battle, he could have united the Greek colonies and possibly defeated Rome.
    I remember reading a bit about Alexander of Epirus in Manfredi's Alexander Trilogy and how he wrote that Alexander and his uncle swore a pact with one conquering the East and the other conquering the West. A work of fiction, but still a beautiful scene. Also, Alexander of Epirus was married to Alexander Megas' sister Cleopatra who became something of a coveted trophy wife between the Successors before one of them (Antigonus or Cassander I think) had her poisoned.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Alex_the_Bold
    Legionary
    posted 21 February 2013 15:55 EDT (US)     20 / 142       
    It was probably Antigonus...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Terikel Grayhair
    Imperator
    (id: Terikel706)
    posted 22 February 2013 03:14 EDT (US)     21 / 142       
    I think Alexander would have wiped the floor with the Romans, personally. No matter how hard that hurts to say.

    The legion at that point was the phalanx legion. Remember, this is before the manipular legion came into effect. The Roman army would have been a phalanx- and by Greek standards, a small one- that fought in the same manner as the Etruscan and Greek hoplites. It was also a single block- they did not have the syntagmae of the Macedonians, which meant their one block was pretty much unmaneuverable. And cavalry? Ha!

    A hundred years later, we see a huge difference between the two armies, with the flexible Roman manipular legion giving Pyrrhus his famous victories. Fifty years on, the Romans were defeating the phalanxes regularly and decisively. Fifty years after that, with Marius and Sulla, the legions reign supreme.

    Alexander could have taken Italia and Rome, and probably easily. His successors, however, missed the boat and paid for that with their realms.

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    [This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 02-22-2013 @ 03:19 AM).]

    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 22 February 2013 09:29 EDT (US)     22 / 142       
    To be honest, I think a lot of people like to cite the Battles of Cynoscephalae, Magnesia and Pydna as clear exampled of the legion being superior to the phalanx only to cease investigating these incidents further and discovering the phalanx actually held its own against the legion pretty well.

    At Cynoscephalae, the right wing of Philip V's phalanx manage to not only withstand the legionnaires' attack but also push them back and repel them until an unknown tribune took a chance and led a charge into their exposed flanks instead of chasing the routers on the broken Macedonian left.

    At Magnesia, Antiochus the Great led a cavalry charge that broke the Roman left and routed the Roman and allied legions stationed there (an event that Livy suspiciously omits in his account of the battle) but instead of wheeling about and charging into the flanks and rear of the Roman and Pergamene army he chased the routing legionnaires back all the way to their camp. Meanwhile, Eumenes II managed to defeat and rout the Seleucid left wing leaving the Seleucid phalanx exposed to attack. The Seleucid phalangites then reformed into a square with the elephants and light infantry in the center, and began making an orderly withdrawal from the field. The legionnaires refused to attack this formidable formation and only did so after several of the elephants panicked under the sniping of the Roman velites and shattered the square of the phalangites, which combined with the assault of the Romans led to a chaotic rout.

    Pydna was a battle that initially favored the Macedonians as Perseus' more heavily armored phalangites withstood the pilum and other missiles used by the Romans and once again pushed the legionnaires back. However, Perseus failed to capitalize on this success by holding back the Macedonian cavalry and allowing his phalanx to pursue the Romans into broken and uneven terrain. The legionnaires then took advantage of several gaps formed in the pike-wall and without making any attempt to aid his men or charge his cavalry into the exposed flanks of the legion Perseus fled the field.

    In my opinion the Successors, especially the original generation, could've defeated the Romans if they'd exerted more control of their forces and possessed a more heightened sense of tactical awareness but since they blindly believed their soldiers and tactics could overcome any threat they left themselves open to the defeats that eventually led to their extinction.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Alex_the_Bold
    Legionary
    posted 22 February 2013 12:59 EDT (US)     23 / 142       
    ...had they not been to occupied with facing each other over Alexander's empire...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Pitt
    Tribunus Laticlavius
    posted 25 February 2013 10:50 EDT (US)     24 / 142       
    The manipular system facilitated, and depended on, commanders of relatively small units demonstrating initiative and aggressiveness. By forming the legions into smaller sub-units they became more adaptable; a large phalanx, by contrast, was less able to react quickly to seize opportunities or remedy reverses.

    Commanders could ameliorate this lack of flexibility by forming phalangites into smaller blocks, interspersed with light troops, and by incorporating a bewildering array of specialised or exotic troop types.

    In a head-on clash on a flat plain a phalanx could beat a legion. In other terrain or circumstances, it was potentially quite vulnerable.

    Saying 'legion beats phalanx' based on a simplified reading of Cynoscephalae and Pydna is, for lack of a better word, simplistic. But it does illustrate the weaknesses in the phalanx when faced by a more flexible enemy commanded by men with some tactical ability.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Alex_the_Bold
    Legionary
    posted 25 February 2013 12:09 EDT (US)     25 / 142       
    ...As was also shown from Iphicrates victory against a Spartan mora using peltasts and the Athenian victory in Sphacteria using peltasts and marines. In general, mobility and flexibility proved to be crucial factors in deciding battles, as in Cannae, Andrianople, Zama, Carrhae and Alexander's battles, even more than numbers (even though Andrianople was won with a lot of luck)...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
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