Sunday, July 6, 2014

Military Campaigns of the Roman Empire

After the fall of mighty Carthage in the Second Punic War (202 BC) Rome began to prepare for the invasion of Greece. The titanic struggle between Rome and Carthage had prevented the Roman's from pursuing a policy of all out war against the Greeks. With Carthage no longer a threat, Rome could now concentrate their powerful war machine against Carthage's former allies.
Despite the war - weariness of the Roman populace, General Titus Quinctius Flamininus, managed to acquire  Senatorial authority to declare war on Greece. After some indecisive skirmishes with local Greek resistance, the main Greek army under King Phillip V of Macedon arrived to check the Roman's at Cynoscephalae. 
The two opposing armies would  be quite evenly matched, the Roman's fielded an army of (24,000 infantry and  3,000 cavalry) the Macedonian - Greek army countered with (26,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry).
The two armies would face one another on opposite sides of a series of rocky ridges and uneven depressions,  the uneven terrain would render cavalry on both sides practically useless. All along the staggered front, advance troops from both sides began to clash. In these early stages of the battle the Greek's would prevail, driving the Romans from the slopes. 
The Roman's continued to fall back until they reached more open ground, then holding their new positions they  awaited the main Roman army to arrive. Having pushed the Roman's off the high ground, the Greek's also halted and awaited reinforcement's.
Upon arriving at the battlefield, Philip was uneasy with the prospect of fighting with his Phalanxes on such difficult terrain, but the reports of Roman troops having been driven back with such ease, inspired him to remain and give battle.
Philip now ordered 9,000 men to take possession of the summit occupying his left flank. While this maneuver was in progressthe main Roman army was now arriving and taking up positions directly below the slopes from the Macedonians.
Although Philip's left flank was secure, his right wing had not yet arrived and still trailed behind his position. Realizing that his right flank was dangerously exposed Philip ordered his left wing Phalanx to lower their spears and attack, before the Roman's could take advantage of his weakness.