Legion vs. Phalanx covers six major engagements where the Roman legion fought the "Greek" (Hellenistic) phalanx. On this research trip, we will be examining the sites for two of them, and the site of one supporting skirmish:

Myke Cole, author of Osprey's upcoming "Legion vs. Phalanx"The Battle of Cynpscephalae (197 B.C.) between the Romans under the consul Titus Quinctius Flamininus, and the Antigonids (sometimes called the Macedonians) under King Philip V of Macedon.

The Battle of Thermopylae (191 B.C.) between the Romans under the consul Manius Acilius Glabrio, and the Seleucids under King Antiochus III AKA Antiochus the Great. This is more of a skirmish, but it is a prelude to the larger Battle of Magnesia covered in Legion vs. Phalanx, so we'll be tackling it on this trip.

The Battle of Pydna (168 B.C.) between the Romans under the consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus and the Antigonids under King Perseus of Macedon. 

For those of you following along, I wanted to lay out the literary sources in case you wanted to read up on what we know about the battles. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, Mike's approach to history is to burn everything down and start from scratch—and that means the primary sources. By "primary" sources, I mean material (mostly written, but sometimes archaeological) created either at the time of the event we're studying, or as close as we can get. Modern historians (including me!) have agendas and opinions, and you are always best served by reading the original material and making up your own mind about what happened.

The list below may seem like a lot of reading, but it's actually not. Ancient writers were nowhere near as long-winded as modern ones, and you'll find that a "book" or a "chapter" is often not more than what we'd consider to be a page or even a paragraph.

You don't have to know Latin or Greek to read these sources, and you don't have to spend any money. Pretty much everything on the list below is available for free, already translated into English, online. If you cut and paste the below lines into a Google search, you'll find the material in English very easily. I prefer to use Tufts University's Perseus Digital Library, Lacus Curtius at the University of Chicago, and the amazing Attalus Project.

Roman republic legionairies

I've broken the list into "Major sources" (those sources that I feel provide a lot of information on the battle) and "Minor sources" (those sources I feel provide small fragments of information. Feel free to skip these if you're just looking to get a general understanding of the battle). 

All dates given are B.C. unless I specifically state otherwise. 

I always give the "book" first, followed by a period. Anything after that period is a chapter, passage or verse.

 In some cases, where there aren't books or chapters, I just give the title of the work.

I hope this is useful, wish you happy reading, and please feel free to sing out in the comments section here if you have any questions or just want to say hi. You can also reach Mike and I on Twitter at @MykeCole and @Medievalguy.


Battle of Cynoscephalae - 197 B.C.

Major Sources

Joannes AKA John Zonaras (12th C. A.D. Byzantine) - Fragments of Book 18 (in Cassius Dio).

Lucius Mestrius Pluatchus AKA Plutarch (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Parallel Lives - Life of Titus Quinctius Flamininus.

Polybius (Turn of 1st C. Greek) - Histories - Book 18.

Titus Livius AKA Livy (Turn of the 1st C. A.D. Roman) - Books from the Foundation of the City - Books 33, 35. 

Minor Sources

Eusebius of Caesarea AKA Eusebius Pamphili AKA Eusebius (Turn of the 3rd C. A.D. Greek) - Chronicle - p. 243.

Marcus Junius Justinus Frontinus AKA Justinus AKA Justin (2nd C. A.D. Roman) - Epitome of Trogus' Philippic Histories - Book 30.

Paulus Orosius AKA Paul Orosius AKA Orosius (Turn of the 4th C. A.D. Celtiberian) - History Against the Pagans - Book 4.

Pausanias (1st C. A.D. Greek) - Description of Greece - Book 7.8.

Quintus Ennius AKA Ennius (Turn of 3rd C. Roman) - Annales - 333-342.

Strabo (Turn of the 1st C. A.D. Greek) - Geography - Book 9.5.

 

Battle of Thermopylae - 191 B.C.

Major Sources

Appian of Alexandria AKA Appian (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Syrian Wars.

Joannes AKA John Zonaras AKA Zonaras (12th C. A.D. Byzantine) - Fragments of Book 19 (in Cassius Dio).

Lucius Mestrius Pluatchus AKA Plutarch (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Parallel Lives - Life of Cato the Elder.

Titus Livius AKA Livy (Turn of the 1st C. A.D. Roman) - Books from the Foundation of the City - Book 36.

Minor Sources

Aurelius Victor (3rd C. A.D. Roman) - The Illustrious Men of Rome - 47.

Flavius Eutropius AKA Eutropius (4th C. A.D. Roman) - Abridgement of Roman History - Book 3.4.

Lucius Annaeus Florus AKA Florus (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Roman) - Epitome of Roman History - 1.24.

Marcus Junius Justinus Frontinus AKA Justinus AKA Justin (2nd C. A.D. Roman) - Epitome of Trogus' Philippic Histories - Book 31.

Marcus Tullius Cicero AKA Cicero (Turn of the 1st C. A.D. Roman) - Cato the Elder on Old Age.

Paulus Orosius AKA Paul Orosius AKA Orosius (Turn of the 4th C. A.D. Celtiberian) - History Against the Pagans - Book 4.

Phlegon of Tralles AKA Phlegon (2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Marvels - 3.

Sextus Julius Frontinus AKA Frontinus (1st C. A.D. Roman) - Stratagems - Book 2.

Valerius Maximus (1st C. A.D. Roman) - Memorable Deeds and Sayings - Book 2.4.

 

Battle of Pydna - 168 B.C.

Major Sources

Appian of Alexandria AKA Appian (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Macedonian Wars.

Aurelius Victor (3rd C. A.D. Roman) - The Illustrious Men of Rome - 58.

Joannes AKA John Zonaras (12th C. A.D. Byzantine) - Fragments of Book 18 (in Cassius Dio).

Lucius Mestrius Pluatchus AKA Plutarch (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Parallel Lives - Life of Aemilius Paulus.

Polybius (Turn of 1st C. Greek) - Histories - Book 29.

Titus Livius AKA Livy (Turn of the 1st C. A.D. Roman) - Books from the Foundation of the City - Books 41, 44-45.

Minor Sources

Diodorus Siculus AKA Diodorus of Sicily AKA Diodorus (1st C. B.C. Greek) - Library of History - Book 30.

Eusebius of Caesarea AKA Eusebius Pamphili AKA Eusebius (Turn of the 3rd C. A.D. Greek) - Chronicle - p. 239.

Flavius Eutropius AKA Eutropius (4th C. A.D. Roman) - Abridgement of Roman History - Book 3.4.

Lucius Annaeus Florus AKA Florus (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Roman) - Epitome of Roman History - 1.28.

Lucius Mestrius Pluatchus AKA Plutarch (Turn of the 2nd C. A.D. Greek) - Parallel Lives - Life of Cato the Elder. Moralia - How to Tell a 

Flatterer from a Friend - 29.

Marcus Junius Justinus Frontinus AKA Justinus AKA Justin (2nd C. A.D. Roman) - Epitome of Trogus' Philippic Histories - Book 33.

Marcus Pacuvius AKA Pacuviuis (turn of 2nd C. Roman) - Paulus.

Marcus Velleius Paterculus AKA Paterculus (turn of the 1st C. A.D. Roman) - Roman History - Book 1. 

Paulus Orosius AKA Paul Orosius AKA Orosius (Turn of the 4th C. A.D. Celtiberian) - History Against the Pagans - Book 4.

Sextus Julius Frontinus AKA Frontinus (1st C. A.D. Roman) - Stratagems - Book 2, 4.


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If you're following along with Myke, make sure you catch up on his last blog posts:

Entry #1: Meet Author Myke Cole as He Blogs His Trip to Greece to Research "Legion vs. Phalanx"

 

Entry #3: A Day in Pydna with Myke Cole

Post Comments

PAUL W posted on 30 Jul 2017 12:55:15
Really looking forward to this book, I had suggested a similar combat title in the books I'd like to read section but this looks like it will easily surpass that. Also enjoying the blogs.

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