Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Discuss the wars of Alexander's successors

Moderator: pothos moderators

User avatar
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:Oh yes it is! You have used this form of personal attack on me before. How is criticising someone (falsely) with an accusation of alleged 'inconsistency' not a personal attack ?
The argument is not consistent. Said argument underlies the proposition. To take that argument to task is now to get "personal".
Xenophon wrote:If I only discussed the first possibility on the RAT thread 5 years ago, that was because there were enough digressions on that thread about the general Macedonian phalanx depth, not to muddy the waters with another digression. There I was arguing that this passage did NOT provide evidence for the usual Macedonian formation depth being 16 in 'close order'.
You can massage matters as you will but cries of "out of context" do not wash. You and I have had this discussion over time and your position on 18.30.1-4 has always been that Polybios assumes his readers will know, as he does, that the phalanx halves its depth to close up - as the quotes demonstrate. That discussion was on Macedonian phalanx depth. Plb 18.30-1-4 came up as an example of that depth being sixteen and you argued consistently that this was only referring to open order and that it would halve depth to close. Little to do with digressions: it was pertinent to the discussion and at no stage then did you suggest that this depth might be specific to Kynoskehalai. Until now. Your current position, rather than firm, is the classic "bet each way".
Xenophon wrote:If you go back to 1980 "Warfare in the Classical World" you can see that I postulated the phalanx fighting in half-files [e.g. p 34 and p.73] when in 'close order/pyknosis', and that at p.126 I describe the phalanx against the Legion as being 16 deep in 'close order' ( i.e. in double depth) as at Kynoskephalae and Pydna. This allows for the second possibility [close order] for Polybius' ambiguous 16 deep formation at XVIII.30. My views have been 'consistent' since the 1970s, as I said.
Actually, page 124 is more pertinent. Here you state:
Philip marches half the phalanx and the Thracians up the pass and deploys leftwards on the summit [...] Flamininus [...] leads his left to relieve his light troops, forcing the Macedonian light infantry who retire back through the line [...] Philip orders phalanx and peltasts to double depth, thus halving the front...
Now it really doesn't matter how you rationalise this for it can only mean the one thing. Philip deploys his phalanx to the left . Having done so you then have Philip order his phalanx to double its depth which results in that phalanx halving the frontage it is deployed in.
Warry.jpg (136.03 KiB) Viewed 2984 times

Xenophon wrote:Not just 'current view' -see above reference to "Warfare in the Classical World". The two possibilities are entirely consistent with one another.Polybius is either discussing the 'usual' phalanx of 16 deep in 'open order', or else he means the 16 deep 'double depth' phalanx utilised against the Romans at Kynoskephalae and Pydna. He cannot, however, mean that 16 deep in 'close order' was the usual fighting order, for that would contradict both what he says elsewhere and the manuals.
$10 each way number one in the first at Ascot please. You have claimed on this thread that Polybios tells us the Macedonians charged sixteen deep at Kynoskephalai:
Xenophon wrote:we know they charged 16 deep in 'close order', having closed up to their right, also because of the frontages, and because Polybius specifically says they did, for immediately after his description of Kynoskephalae, he digresses on the advantages and disadvantages of the phalanx [XVIII.28-30] " and I will, now that we see them both in actual practice [at Kynoskephalae], endeavour to fulfill this promise."
"Are you suffering from short-term memory loss, a.k.a 'old-timers disease'?"

More to the point, it would be nice to know just which of your win and place bets you are adhering to here. Is Polybios describing a phalanx in open order which will close up to eight or is he describing a sixteen deep phalanx in close order? You can't have it all ways.
Xenophon wrote: The reason we know that Philip charged 16 deep is NOT the ambiguous passage at XVIII.30, but because we know the respective frontages of the Macedonian right wing, and the Roman left, as both Agesilaos and I have referred to earlier in the thread, and as you now also agree !! :shock:
Apologies, it appears you can have it all ways. As with Polybios' reporting of Philip's order to "double their depth and close to the right" this entire passage, too, is ambiguous. Useful tool ambiguity.
Xenophon wrote:Incorrect. Polybius' example describes the Macedonian actions at Kynoskephalae, and also the Roman ones - the attack in the rear etc, not "a general Roman system" .
Polybius XVIII.32
...[the Macedonian phalanx] quit the rest of their forces: and when this takes place, the enemy's reserves can occupy the space thus left, and the ground which the phalanx had just before been holding, and so no longer charge them face to face, but fall upon them on their flank and rear.
which only occurred at Kynoskephalae, when the un-named Tribune led 20 maniple from right to left along the ridge, and then charged down into Philip's rear.
Of course Polybios discusses a general Roman system. Livy, working from polybios, give a similar view of Pydna (44.41.7):
If by attacking them at various points you compel them to bring round their spears, which owing to their length and weight are cumbersome and unwieldy, they become a confused and involved mass, but if any sudden and tumultuous attack is made on their flank or rear, they go to pieces like a falling house.

Xenophon wrote:You are not paying attention. I used to have access to the HCP online, but it is no longer there and I don't have a hard copy. Accordingly I couldn't check it, and hence only quoted from Walbank's source commentary from "Philip V". I explained this w..a...y back - see quotation below.
No, I was "paying attention". You could not give "exact references" for your original post ("here I rely on Walbank's commentaries") because you no longer had access to an online version of it. Later you state that "the composition of the "Commentaries" was a long process, and during this time he also wrote a biography "Philip V of Macedon" . There he repeats much of what I said earlier". What you "said earlier" was regarding a Macedonian source for the battle ending with the quote above about relying on "commentaries". If in his Philip V he "repeats much of what I said earlier", that earlier information has not come from his Philip V for, as you state, he repeats that in his Philip V.
Xenophon wrote:Whilst on the subject of Walbank, I was pleasantly surprised to note something I had long forgotten. In his account of Kynoskephalae in the above book [p.171] he shares my view on the depth of Philip's phalanx:
"Posting his retreating forces on the right, he commanded his main force of phalangites and peltasts to double its depth to sixteen men...."

...from which I inferred that to Walbank, 8 deep was the usual 'single' close order depth. You then quoted the HCP to refute my inference, in which Walbanks refers to 8 deep in 'open order' - plainly he's incorrect about 'marching' depth, but nevertheless you have adopted his view as your "new" position.
And it takes a thorough reading of your posts the put together the (near) entire quote which reads: "Posting his retreating forces on the right, he commanded his main force of phalangites and peltasts to double its depth to sixteen men, close up and charge....". As I've said, Walbank clearly sees the phalanx doubling the depth it is in and closing to the right. As he says in his HCP.

Xenophon wrote:Still, since you like to criticise 'inconsistency', even where there is none, perhaps you'd like to try a genuine example of inconsistency, nay, say rather self-contradiction: :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Paralus wrote 5 years 11 months ago on Roman Army Talk:
“Polybios’ remarks on the phalanx are framed by, indeed relate to, the just described battle of Cynoscephalae. It matters little that he precedes them by stating that “as promised here is my description” to paraphrase. The battle just described is the palate for painting the manifest drawbacks – as Polybios sees them – of the formation. “
....which is totally inconsistent with your criticisms of me for making exactly the same comparison as a possibility now ! It would seem that then you agreed with this possibility, that Polybius was using Kynoskephalae as his example, which you now deny.
Happy to admit that I have changed my view of this since then. Just as I have on the depth of the charge on this thread and other matters (including likely leather armour). I can admit to such a change of view rather than attempt to bury my head in two sandboxes at once.
Xenophon wrote:postscript: Paralus wrote:
The implication of ‘backflip’, akin to the Australian politician(s) I was equated with earlier in the thread,
Another example of short-term memory loss ? I did not refer to a 'backflip'. The comparison I actually made [ on 19 May] was:
".... just avoidance of the question - you could have been an aussie politician."
You do like to truncate sentences; it helps to confuse the issue. The sentence, in response to "Which should read ' NEW position is as follows' ” was: "The implication of ‘backflip’, akin to the Australian politician(s) I was equated with earlier in the thread, I can wear". The "backflip" relates to "my new position" which, as I said, I could wear. I simply noted that such was akin to the allegation that I was like an Australian politician made earlier in the thread (backflips being the action de jour of the current mob in Canberra) - not that you'd referred to any backflip in that allegation. But make of it what you will.
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2180
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:16 pm
Location: LONDON

Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by agesilaos »

disagreement-hierarchy.jpg (92.35 KiB) Viewed 2959 times

We might analyse the slide of the two most contentious threads down this triangle but that would quickly degenerate into a morass of recrimination and self-justification, all firmly at the base of the pyramid.

Instead, let us consider the central point in my argument which may be stated as:
‘Since the frontages (c 625 metres) of the opposing forces suggest that the final Macedonian charge was delivered sixteen deep, and Polybios expressly states that the Macedonians had ‘doubled their depth and closed to the right’ they must have been eight deep and also in pyknosis, initially.

There are several points that might be challenged, the first is that the frontages were roughly equal – this is accepted, by all three interlocutors as is the concomitant depth of sixteen. The contention stems from Polybios’ direct statement that the Macedonians physically doubled the depth in which they were standing and closed to the right. Since there is no escaping that this IS what the Greek means, counterargument based on redefining ‘diasplazein’ slip from counter argument to contradiction, since the supporting ‘evidence’ is non-existant, fabricated. This has been demonstrated repeatedly and repeatedly ignored and so the discussion slides down the slope.

If we all agree the model, we can easily allocate the arguments and hopefully keep to the top three sectors.

Due to the nature of the discipline, things are going to drift, the nature of the evidence is itself contentious but ought discussions to remain in the upper half of the model. So too should criticism of the sources, it is jolly to say Diodoros Ridikulos, for instance, but it hardly constitutes source criticism; however, if his fallibility has been established by a previous argument then it at least serves to demonstrate the poster’s feelings about the value of that source; name-calling has its place but is best confined to the ancients . What can be easily seen to be a joke in conversation can come across much more harshly on the page and emoticons do not really help :lol: .

Between us we ought to be able to come up with a few more hierarchies with how we think we act at the top and how others act at the bottom, I would suggest one for degree of proof/strength of evidence and another for strength rather than type of argument perhaps, scholarly – delusional, perhaps.

I suggest we also establish some rule around Parliamentary language, if three intelligent old men can’t work out how to discuss things that barely matter effectively but nicely, what hope is there for humanity?

Let’s agree a timescale, say a fortnight and do it by e-mail, in camera; and if this is a triumvirate I bags Mark Anthony.

We can then post jointly, so that others can understand the standards expected.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
Post Reply