The silence was due to the fact that I don’t seem to have as much time for this sort of thing as you and Paralus seem to, combined with the fact that I have twice as much to respond to, and am always playing ‘catch up’, as you are aware from previous comments of mine.“I will take the continued silence as eloquent of grudging acceptance of eight deep actually doubling to sixteen and move on to the question of the interval or density of the troops. If, like our Xenophon, you believe that only those intervals mentioned in the Taktikeis are allowable even during evolutions then it is clear that the eight deep line MUST have been in close order at 3ft intervals since otherwise, when they double their depth, by whatever method, the interval will become the allegedly disallowable 12 feet.”

You are sort of correct....see ante, ergo Philip’s phalanx must have been in ‘open/normal/natural order’ ( to allow the light infantry and cavalry to withdraw) 16 deep when the command was given to close up in double depth to the right i.e. form close order/pyknosis 16 deep on half the previous frontage – and the way this was done is explained in the manuals [Asclep XII.8; Aelian 33], obviously with Cynoscephalae in mind.

Yes! We have agreed this previously........so far so good.“I do not hold with this reasoning but the fact is demonstrable by considering the ground. We can all agree that the phalanx fought in close order (pyknosis) so that when Philip attacks with his wing it is at 3ft intervals and that his frontage roughly matches that of the Roman left with which he engages and drives before him (had the Roman line been longer it could have attacked his flank, but rather the whole force is forced back). The actual numbers are fraught but it is clear that Philip had doubled his depth and by doing so halved his frontage. We may also assume that his original frontage occupied the whole of the ridge as when the Roman right attacks it is initially straight forward and not with a right hook flanking movement, although that develops due to Philip's left failing to establish itself or, indeed, even reach the ground vacated by the compacting right wing.”

Also agreed ! The problem with your hypothesis is that we are told that immediately prior to closing up, Philip’s light troops and cavalry are ‘received’ by the phalanx [ i.e. they withdraw through them], and for the reasons Onasander sets out [XVII and XIX] the phalanx must have been in ‘open’ order’, which had to be 16 deep. You will note that an ‘open order’ phalanx 16 deep occupies the same frontage as your ‘close order’ one 8 deep. Your hypothesis would have Philip march onto the ridge in the usual 16 deep open order ,deploy on a 1,000 yard or so frontage then form ‘close order’ 8 deep, then open up to 16 deep and finally close up to the right, 16 deep to a 500yard aprox frontage. These evolutions would take time to order, and for the various orders to be complied with along a frontage of around 1,000 yards – it could not happen instantaneously – and I don’t think there was anywhere near enough time to do this with the Roman left advancing from just a few hundred yards away, and just where does the withdrawal of the light troops fit in ? Then there’s Occam’s razor.......“The broken ground which interfered with the deployment of the left must initially have anchored that flank when the ridge was fully occupied as Philip leaves it unsupported by cavalry or light infantry. It follows mathematically if a space is half occupied by a body of close order troops sixteen deep these same must also be in close order to fill it when eight deep, there is no room for a larger interval.”

Leaving out the ‘8 deep in close order’ stage solves these problems AND complies with everything Polybius says ( provided you don’t dogmatically insist that forming close order in double depth MUSTnecessarily involve two separate manoeuvres. )