Battle of Cynocephalae

• 197 BC • Rome vs. Philip V of Macedon
– Philip allied himself with Hannibal after Cannae; Rome found out.

• Post 2nd Punic War Rome controlled:
– Italy from the Alps to the heel. – Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Eastern Spain, Southern Gaul, Northern Africa to Egypt

The Roman Commander
• Titus Flaminius invaded Thessaly with two legions (Cannae veterans away from home for 14 years now) as vengeance for Philip’s allegiance with Hannibal.

Disposition of Forces
Roman
• 8,400 infantry and • 10,000 Italian allies; • 4,000 phalangites and • 2,000 peltasts from the Aetolian league; • a total of some 2,600 cavalry (including 400 Aetolian); and • around 20 elephants. • • • •

Philip V
16,000 phalangites, 1,500 mercenaries, 4,000 peltasts, 2,000 light armed Thracians and • 2,000 Illyrians, and • about 2,000 cavalry total

Battle Itself
• Happened near Cynocephalae ‘Dogs Heads’ hilly, rocky ridges in Greece. • Starts small by accident, both sides throw all their main forces in. • The Roman reserve (the Triarii, about 2,000 men), led by a Tribune, attack the Macedonian phalanx in the rear.

The Macedonian Left falls back when Flaminius orders his Right to attack with elephants

Significance of Cynocephalae
Mobility of the Roman legions (small, independent units working as a whole) outperform Macedonian phalanx (supreme military formation since 350-197 BC). The Macedonians raise their sarissa as a sign of surrender, but the Romans don’t (or won’t understand).

Losses:
Macedonian, 7-8,000 killed; 4-5,000 captured Roman, 1,000 killed

14 years later…
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, now 53, dies in 183 BC, a political outcast in Rome.

Hannibal Barca, now 63 and labeled an outlaw, takes poison while in Libyssa the same year.