120 Cynoscephalae (197 BC)
Victory in the Second Punic War (218-201 BC) established Rome as the dominant power in the Western Mediterranean. Since Philip V of Macedon had allied with Hannibal during that war, Rome had a score to settle. Rome used complaints from Rhodes and Pergamum about Macedonian aggression as a pretext to invade. The Senate sent Flamininus with two legions and some Greek allies for a showdown with Philip in 197 BC. This would be the first contest between the Roman legion and a true Macedonian phalanx (Pyrrhus’ phalanx had been composed of Epirotes, and Hannibal’s of many nationalities). The two armies were nearly identical in size, with around 23,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry each. The battle would be won by the superior tactical system, not weight of numbers. Still, the hilly Greek terrain at Cynoscephalae did favor the legion. The two armies were marching on opposite sides of a ridgeline and met unexpectedly in the early morning mist. A skirmish began between light troops, and Philip decided to commit his entire army. Philip took command of the right wing and successfully attacked the Roman left. Flaminius seized the initiative and launched an attack spearheaded by elephants on the left flank phalanx, breaking it before it was fully deployed. Each army’s right wing was now victorious. An unknown Roman tribune, ‘seeing what ought to be done’ detached some maniples from the Roman right to strike the flank of the victorious Macedonian right wing phalanx. Philip’s pha- Cynoscephalae – 197 BC lanx was shattered in a textbook example of flexibility versus rigidity. Philip's hopes to unite the Greeks under Macedonian hegemony ended with his defeat.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
Macedonian Army (Use Greek blocks)
• Leader: Phillip V
• 5 Command Cards
Roman Army (Use Roman blocks)
• Leader: Consul Lucius Quinctius Flamininus
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First
Optional – Roman Tactical Flexibility. An unsupported Greek heavy infantry unit may only battle back against a Roman medium or heavy infantry unit with 3 battle dice (which reflects the ability of the more maneuverable legions to gain the flanks of the phalanx and strike decisively).
Tags: Expansion 1
While the Macedonians pressed forward in all sections, the Romans drove hard into the center careful to avoid the heavy infantry. The Macedonians had trouble getting the left flank into the fight and the elephant played no role in the battle for the Romans.
The Roman LC unit streaked through the center and almost destroyed a Macedonian infantry unit that had retreated to the baseline. Only luck saved the bold Numidians from destruction.
The Romans won by focused attention in favorable hill battle in the center and left before the Roman left fell back. The Macedonian left was too late to avoid a 6-3 defeat.