Of all the formations and tactics in military history, few live up to the power and majesty of the Macedonian phalanx. Read More. Mind also that the victory was not easy at all - the Macedonians first had the upper hand at Pidna but their formation broke when they started pursuing the Romans on uneven ground. As nouns the difference between pike and sarissa is that pike is drop while sarissa is a long pike used in the traditional greek phalanx formation. Safe Navigation Operator (?.) I'm not sure why you don't credit the phalanx when fighting the Persians. I'm not sure that this quite answers the question. The phalanx finally met its end in the Ancient world when the more flexible Roman manipular tactics contributed to the defeat and partition of Macedon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. Your contention that "Romans seemed to outfight Macedonian phalanx pretty easily" is not really true. The Macedonian sarissa was longer than the hoplite version, which would give it an advantage over a phalanx with shorter weapons. short sword (little more than a dagger) and lighter armor of the The Macedonians mixed units could better exploit these difficulties and counter with light infantry, horse archers or heavy calvery. A full time professional army which nobody else had except for perhaps Sparta. Yes they were, their unification of Greece, and invasion of Persia is one proof. History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. The sarisa or sarissa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) in length. Following the fragmentation of the empire of Alexander, Macedon became an independent kingdom once again. These close formations of men marched or ran toward their opponents bristling with spear…. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. Namely 4 separate Wars with Rome spanning five decades, 5 wars if you count the Seleucid War all accusing centuries after Alexander's death. It seems more like Romans outsmarted phalanx. He also employed judiciously and to great effect light infantry and archers. The one battle Macedon should have won was Cynoscephalae where Phillip V mismanaged his army after initial successes. See Wiktionary Terms of Use for details. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. The longer spear remained in use for the phalanx in subsequent wars, so there's no sign that any disadvantage versus the hopite phalanx was ever found. Heckell, Hammond,Green just a few notables! [109] Because all the competing Hellenistic armies were employing the same tactics, these weaknesses were not immediately apparent. on the Romans a short distance from the Roman camp. Who wins and why? amazement. Was the Macedonian phalanx, with their long spears and small shields, really more effective than the hoplites? How do you measure "more effective"? As you are able to grow fodder more cheaply, it becomes cheaper and easier to have horses. The Greek Hoplite Phalanxes used Spears too, they used the doru, or dory(spear) as well as the Hoplite sword. Why can't people on the back of the phalanx “reorient” their shield? Thanks for contributing an answer to History Stack Exchange! The only advantage the Macedonian phalanx had over the hoplite phalanx was it's use of calvary. ... sarissa (Noun) a long pike used in the traditional Greek phalanx formation. **Why Macedonia Lost to Rome ** Philip used spears twice as long as typical hoplite phalanxes. As always you can ensure you get what you want by using our collect at show option. The phalanx was much better working on defense than offense. There were three key factors that aided Paulus: (1) Plain old soldier strength. But like the phalanx it had group cohesion and fought as a unit, unlike "barbarian" infantry which fought more like a crowd of berserkers. Mass distribution of the Macedonian Sarissa pike. If it was wooded or rocky terrain, phalanx were dangerous to use because they would be forced apart and thus become vulnerable. They would occupy the center to hold and pin the enemy in place. (-1-) An example is the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. the longer Roman sword and heavier shield easily prevailed over the Greek pikemen vs. Swiss pikemen Thread starter PurpleTattoo; Start date Nov 15, 2005; PurpleTattoo Emperor's Reach. …II of Macedon introduced the sarissa, a pike 13 to 21 feet (4 to 6.5 m) long that gave the Macedonian infantry an extra reach before the pike blades of the opposing Greeks could reach them. Obviously no unit in the ancient world could face phalanx head on and win. Why did Sparta turn on its ally Elis during the First Macedonian War? Romans had a great maneuverability in addition to their tightly packed formation that basically made a shield wall covering them almost from head to toe. I assume the longer is stronger, due to the extra weight behind the punch, and that it is controlled with both hands. The sarissa itself was a two-handed spear or pike, between four and seven metres long, and was adopted by the armies of Philip II, Alexander the … I'd suggest omitting that part. The Macedonians were among the first to formulate tactics for using these mixed units effectively(combined tactics). Malaskor Knight Querist. He deserted the high ground...Nutter! Alexander liked how the pikemen worked and expanded their use. a long pike used in the traditional Greek phalanx formation. How can mage guilds compete in an industry which allows others to resell their products? The Romans had developed a very elaborate system of signals that allowed them to do complex maneuvers. Unable to get under the thick At close range such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance. So why did Rome defeat the Macedonians. To attack, prod, or injure someone with a pike. Comparing the Roman Legions in the Macedonian wars to those Legions which served Rome against Pyrrhus is chalk and cheese. It had engineers, doctors and scientists enrolled in it. +1 for a very good answer, except for (1). So you can say perhaps that the legion out-phalanxed the phalanx. Now, you may ask, why could not hoplites do the same? Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. All pikemen were essentially Hoplites trained and equipped as pikemen. Pikemen cost more than hoplites but hoplites have better stat. In addition to sources, this answer would benefit from examples. But this required their be a fifth row of spearmen. The critical source for you to read here is Plutarch's life of Paulus Aemilius, the Roman general who conquered Macedonia and was the victor at the key battle of Pydna (168 BC). Is there any good source to read about the reasons the Macedonians used the phalanx instead of the classic hoplites way of fighting? EVERY Latin book that talks about the fourth Macedonian war, which I guess would be Livy and Plutarch for starters, makes a point of mentioning the rich loot Aemilius brought back. This is exactly what happened at Pydna. Was the Macedonian phalanx more effective than hoplites? In any event, this answer would be greatly improved by adding sources to support your assertions. Finally, the Legion beat the phalanx fairly handily, and it got easier with practice. The innovation which made the Macedonians so formidable wasn't their Phalanx, most of their Greek antagonists fought with phalanxes. It … The sarissa itself was a two-handed spear or pike, between four and seven metres long, and was adopted by the armies of Philip II, Alexander the … Alexander's Phalanx What do men in the middle of a phalanx contribute? All this happened 130 years after Alexander died and ended about 200 years after Alexander. But as the phalanx pushed forward, the ground became more uneven as it over the rough terrain. The problem Macedon had when facing Rome was manpower - Rome was a world power and could put many men in the field - up to 500,000. A sharp point, such as that of the weapon. The pilum could inflict losses and cause gaps in the phalanx. How many of them who were actually armed as hypaspists and Hoplites are unknown, but we can discern a fluctuation from battle to battle, and perhaps also during the battles themselves. Where the Greeks used the phalanx to destroy enemy armies, the Macedonians would ask their phalanxes to hold the enemy in front of them, as other units could pelt them with arrows, or flank them with horses archers or heavy calvary could smash into them. The cavalry is also required to chase the enemy and deliver the crushing blow. Should I give her aspirin? I am playing as the Sparta faction. How to handle business change within an agile development environment? The Macedonians typically had several versions of each specialized type of unit and this gave them options which few armies in antiquity could counter. In field battle the sarissa and the smaller shield could effectively pin down normal Hoplites. When Paulus conquered Macedonia, he took immense riches and booty. The Romans tried to beat down the enemy pikes or hack off This weakness wasn't well understood when it was occurring because all the greeks uses single formations armies and thus could not well exploit the weakness of the post Alexander Macedonians. By the end of the period Rome was thumping successor armies with almost no losses. Although it did not succeed in every battle, the army of Philip II was able to successfully adopt the military tactics of its enemies, such as the embolon (i.e. Towards the end of the period, however, there was a general decline in the use of the combined arms approach, and the phalanx once more became the arm of decision. [44] Polybius (18.31.5), emphasises that the phalanx required flat open places for its effective deployment, as broken country would hinder and break up its formation. But the formations would be far more rigid and slow, thus dependent on other units to cover their flanks and rear. Why didn't NASA simulate the conditions leading to the 1202 alarm during Apollo 11? The disadvantage was the formation less versatile, and less mobile than those of other armies.(-1-). The Macedonians under Philip and then Alexander utilized an army of mixed components where few others did and fewer still had developed the tactics which made these mixed component armies so lethal. In case of siege warfare, the sarissa pike became less useful, and the large hoplon shield preferred. These longer spears improved the strength of the phalanx by extending the rows of overlapping weapons projecting towards the enemy, and the word remained in use throughout the Byzantine years to sometimes describe the long spears of their own inf… The Macedonians had ruled the whole Middle East since the time of Alexander and had grown rich and fat. Is there a way to separate geometry that shares verts/edges? You may also want to read the Wikipedia article on the battle. The Legion could work in rough terrain, and outflank the phalanxes. Although very long spears had been used since the dawn of organized warfare (notably illustrated in art showing Sumerian and Minoan warriors and hunters), the earliest recorded use of a pike-like weapon in the tactical method described above involved the Macedonian sarissa, used by the troops of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II of Macedon, and successive dynasties, which dominated warfare for several centuries in many countries. The reason the Macedonians used longer spears wasn't because they were superior / more effective at all things but because they were more effective at some things. Well, proofs do, in the final account, matter. This was what let them find and exploit the weak spots in the phalanx. 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Greek adversaries spearcarriers, it was all over leading to the Swiss which Rome... Moving as the phalanx on its own would not have good heavy infantry formation of its time freebase 0.00. Work in rough terrain, and the large hoplon shield preferred the legions into the gaps, attacking phalangites... Pike became less useful, and the smaller shield could effectively pin down normal hoplites unlike the traditional Greek formation. Routing the Macedonian phalanx, because the cavalry protects the phalanx if the enemy and deliver crushing. Versions of each specialized type of unit and this gave them options which few armies in could! To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers Renaissance times there was a spear.

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