Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Postby Paralus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:59 am
It has been said that possibly the only thing left to discuss on this subject is the actual battle location. As remarked above, that is extremely important and took me many weeks of Google Earth walking. Perhaps we can get on with that in something of a more civil manner. Before that, though, there is the notion that Polybios' discourse on phalanx and legion is based solely on this battle which has been raised most recently. I disagree with that entirely and will get around to posting on same eventually.
See above response to Agesilaos. I don’t say “solely”, for he is generalising, but as I have demonstrated the “accomplished facts” Polybius refers to in specific examples are largely those of Kynoskephalae, unsurprising considering he has just narrated that battle.
I shall open a new thread on the subject of the battlefield location, rather than see the subject buried 15 pages into this thread.
“I did so because the level of discourse on the thread had descended to the personal and the pejorative and did not present a 'good look' for the site. I do not exclude myself from that criticism as all three major (only?) contributors are clearly responsible.”
I take grave exception to this accusation. All three contributors are NOT responsible. Not only have I refrained from personal abuse, insults, sneers etc but I have also appealed repeatedly in recent months for an end to ‘flaming’ and troll-like comments,to no avail, for was ignored.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Postby agesilaos » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:39 am
Have to hold my hands up for being part, and a bigger part, of the problem than Para, here, so I will return to my usual style (don't think I can fully disarm But the three of us ought to make a better fist of returning to academic discourse than the cease fire in Eastern Ukraine).
"Disarm"? You are not at war, or under attack !Let us by all means stick to civilised academic discourse.

"Politeness is the oil which lubricates friction between human beings."
As I think I may have said, the main problem with identifying the correct battle field is getting the right frontage to look for; working the other way round, ie. finding a position with a pass to the West and a secure left flank and extrapolating the frontage from the ground will be insufficient (though a great advance on the method of drawing a random contour and superimposing the battle description [sometimes not even that, just a fantasy loosely based on the idea of Polybios' text!]). There are sufficient clues to allow identification of good candidates, I think, and there ought to be archaeology; the Macedonians lay on the field unburied for six years so would be fully skeletised so there ought to be a concentration of minor bones which would have escaped collection when the Glorious Dead were eventually entombed, which mound should also be discoverable. Metal objects would likely have been stripped over the years but small artefacts might have escaped, studs and fastenings, even broken weapons; though confirmatory sarissa parts would have been large enough to have been easily scavenged. The fact that the site remains vague could be due to looking in the wrong place for years; good luck, wish your search well.
I would only add that battlefield archaeology is notoriously difficult. I have now begun a thread on this subject.....
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Pos tby Paralus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:38 am

Xenophon wrote:and 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." He tells us, inter alia, that each man "occupies a space three feet in breadth" i.e 'close'order. He also says[XVIII.28.30] " From this we can easily conceive what is the nature and force of a charge by the whole phalanx when it is 16 deep." Since we know from the manuals that 16 deep was normally in 'open order', closing up to 8 deep in 'close order', Polybius must be describing the specific formation and charge at Kynoskephalae - which we know took place at 'double depth' i.e. 16 deep.


Paralus wrote:
Given private correspondence and this lengthy thread, it is difficult to remember where this assertion first made its appearance. The above, though, will suffice to illustrate the nub of it. What is claimed is that Polybios’ discussion of phalanx and legion is actually a discussion of Kynoskephalai; more pertinently, of Philip’s formation and tactics at Kynoskephalai. I disagree with this.
Not solely perhaps, given that Polybius is trying to generalise, but the source of his 'exempla' is mainly Kynoskephalae - see response to Agesilaos above.

As Agesilaos says, Polybios’ summation refers to far more than what occurred at Kynoskephalai. Here Polybios, having explained the need for good ground and the phalanx keeping its integrity, says “whether the phalanx in its charge drives its opponents from their ground, or is itself driven back, in either case its peculiar order is dislocated; for whether in following the retiring, or flying from the advancing enemy, they quit the rest of their force” and the enemy then attacks in the flank or the rear. The above is not limited to Kynoskephalai.
....and also...
“This is not a dissertation reduced to the tactics and formation of Kynoskephalai...... The above is not limited to Kynoskephalai.”
I agree that Polybius is generalising, but his ‘actual examples’ and ‘accomplished facts’ are largely drawn from the battle of Kynoskephalae he has just described. At what other battle was a 16 deep phalanx attacked in the rear by the Legions, after having “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.” ?


Again, see above - this particular case is unique to Kynoskephalae, the only battle where the Legions attacked the phalanx in the rear after it became 'dislocated' and 'quit the rest of their force'.
See my response to Agesilaos above for further detail of specific reference to Kynoskephalae.
No ‘actual examples’ from the other two major battles are specifically referred to.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Postby agesilaos » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:26 pm
Xenophon wrote:
Since we know from the manuals that 16 deep was normally in 'open order', closing up to 8 deep in 'close order', Polybius must be describing the specific formation and charge at Kynoskephalae - which we know took place at 'double depth' i.e. 16 deep
.

Yet what the Manuals actually say about intervals is
Ask Takt 4
1 Now that the parts of the army have been brought into due relation with the entire force, we may well speak of the intervals in both length and depth. The needs of warfare have brought forth three systems of intervals: the most open order, in which the men are spaced both in length and depth four cubits apart, the most compact, in which with locked shields each man is a cubit distant on all sides from his comrades, and the intermediate, also called a 'compact formation,' in which they are distant two cubits from one another on all sides
2 As occasion demands a change is made from one of these intervals to one of the others, and this, either in length only, which, as we have noted before, is called forming by rank, or in depth, i.e., forming by file, or in both rank and file, which last is called 'by comrade-in rank' and 'by rear rank-man.'
3 The interval of four cubits seems to be the natural one and has, therefore, no special name; the one of two cubits and especially that of one cubit are forced formations. I have stated that of these two spacings the one of two cubits is called 'compact spacing' and the one of a single cubit 'with locked shields.' The former is used when we are marching the phalanx upon the enemy, the latter when the enemy is marching upon us.
4 Now since the file-leaders, forming the front of the phalanx, number 1024, it is clear that, drawn up in the most open formation, they will cover 4096 cubits, which is 10 stades and 96 cubits; in the compact formation, 5 stades and 48 cubits; and with locked shield 2½ stades and 24 cubits. It will be necessary, therefore, for you to select your terrain with all this in mind
.

Aelian 11 corresponds
11 Density of deployment.
1.1. And now we will set forth details concerning the intervals by which the heavy infantry are separated from one another as regards length and depth. There are three kinds of arrangement.
1.2. For, in the first place, some are drawn up with narrower intervals for some special purposes. Now, a man occupies four cubits (6 ft.) drawn up in normal order, two cubits in compact order (pyknosis), and one cubit with locked shields (synaspismos).
1.3. (42) It is “compact order” (pyknosis) whenever from a more open order the intervals are reduced so as to contract the formation as regards both rank and file, that is, as regards length and depth, while still permitting the troops to face about.
1.4. It is “locked-shield order” (synaspismos) whenever from an existing “compact order” (pyknosis) the formation is contracted still further as regards both rank and file, so that because of the nearness of the troops neither a withdrawal nor a turn to the right or to the left is possible.
1.5. “Compacting” (pyknosis) is used whenever the general wishes to lead the phalanx against the enemy, “locking shields” (synaspismos) when the defenders, hedged about as it were, have to receive the enemy's attack.
1.6. Therefore, since there are 1,024 file-leaders drawn up along the front of the phalanx, it is evident that deployed they occupy 4,096 cubits (6,144 ft.) in length, that is, 10 stades and 96 cubits, 5 stades and 48 cubits (3,072 ft.) in compact order (pyknosis), and two and a half stades and 24 cubits (1,536 ft.) in “locked shield” order.


So, what we actually ‘know from the Manuals’ is that pyknosis was the formation used in the approach march on the field.
You seem somewhat confused, that is quite incorrect, ‘pyknosis/close order’ is used “whenever the general wishes to lead the phalanx against the enemy,” and “The former [pyknosis] is used when we are marching the phalanx upon the enemy, the latter [synaspismos] when the enemy is marching upon us.” i.e. pyknosis is attack/assault formation when attacking the enemy at close quarters. March formation is ‘open/normal’ order, as you quoted from Polybius; “..the proper intervals for marching order a stade, when the men are sixteen deep, will hold sixteen hundred, each man being at a distance of six feet from the next.”
Also, the distances for frontage in different orders are nominal/hypothetical measurements only, and certainly not intended to convey that phalanxes expanded and contracted their fronts like a concertina !. Of the hundreds of battles reported from the Greek/Macedonian era, Kynoskephalae with its unique circumstances is the ONLY one where a phalanx contracts laterally, thus halving its frontage. Usually, to do this in the face of the enemy would be completely suicidal.
Elsewhere in the manuals, the usual method of ‘closing up’ by halving depth and maintaining frontage is described.
Need I remind you that much of what is in the manuals is hypothetical theory? You earlier agreed that this was so.
In his criticism of Kallisthenes, Polybius is guilty of a number of ‘schoolboy howlers’, which lead to considerable doubts as to his military competence. For a start, he seems to have assumed ALL Alexander’s roughly 30- 40,000 infantry were of the heavy infantry phalanx, or else including all the peltasts and light infantry as part of the phalanx, which were not usually reckoned part of the phalanx; whereas he likely had 2,000 Hypaspists, and 6 X 2,000 ‘Taxeis’ of sarissaphoroi, for a total of 14,000 or so Macedonian heavy infantry, plus around 7,000 Greek allied and mercenary hoplites who may have been in a second line, or otherwise occupied e.g. guarding baggage, for they do not feature in the accounts of the battle – so Kallisthenes figures work quite well on the actual ground, and his figure of a width some 14 stades/2,800 yards or thereabouts is also broadly accurate. Then he assumes that Kallisthenes 8 deep is achieved by a lateral expansion to 40 stades !! ( perhaps Polybius had been reading an earlier version of the manuals, with their references to such, which seem to have bemused Agesilaos ). He then realises his error, and that Kallisthenes 8 deep is close order, and reduces his calculated frontage from 40 to 20 stades [Polyb XII.21]

All this is reminiscent of some of Agesilaos’ calculations!

It is Polybios’ critique of Kallisthenes’ account of Issos which gives XII 19 vi
Immediately on issuing into the open country he re-formed his order, passing to all the word of command to form into phalanx, making it at first thirty-two deep, changing this subsequently to sixteen deep, and finally as he approach the enemy to eight deep. 7 These statements are even more absurd than his former ones. For with the proper intervals for marching order a stade, when the men are sixteen deep, will hold sixteen hundred, each man being at a distance of six feet from the next. 8 It is evident, then, that ten stades will hold sixteen thousand men and twenty stades twice as many. 9 From all this it is quite plain that when Alexander made his army sixteen deep the line necessarily extended for twenty stades, and this left all the cavalry and ten thousand of the infantry over.


“And here ‘marching interval’ is envisaged for formations 32, 16 and 8 deep; as has been stated repeatedly, with the evidence, there is no set relationship between depth and interval, as would be expected the Hellenistic general could select any depth or interval (based on a sixteen man file of course – which is why the Manuals mention the frontages that a phalanx occupies at the different intervals ) depending on the situation.”
No set relationship between interval and depth? Nothing could be further from the truth! The file was ‘set’ at 16, and only 3 permutations were possible, 16 deep at 6 feet intervals[normal/open order];8 deep at 3 ft intervals [pyknosis/close order]; and 4 deep at 18 inch intervals [synaspismos/locked shields order]
A general could certainly NOT select “any depth or interval”, because it just doesn’t work – for example, as we have seen, 8 deep in ‘open’ order does not allow you to return to 16 deep without impossibly wide intervals which could not be kept and thus losing all cohesion. Nor does doubling 16 deep in open order to 32 work for the same reason. Formations and drill [or intervals and depth] are completely interwoven, the one sets the limits on what can be done with the other. For example, at a modern parade, troops normally march in ‘close order’, but an accompanying military band will always be in ‘open order’. This is because a typical parade will involve the band reversing direction by counter-marching at some stage (Laconian style F.W.I.W), which can only be done in ‘open’ order, not ‘close’.( An exception to troops marching in ‘close’ order is the honour guard at the Edinburgh Tattoo, which during the finale marches on in ‘open’order. Why ? Because it effectively ‘counter-marches’ through the ranks of the massed bands, also in ‘open’ order , for the reason set out above.)
The exception in the Macedonian drill was forming ‘synaspismos’/locked shields ( 18 inches frontage) by the rear ranks marching up through the phalanx already in ‘close’ order (3 ft frontage). This however produced a formation where the men were so jammed together that they could not manoeuvre at all, except to awkwardly shuffle forward.
I am sorry to note that after all the hundreds of thousands of words on two threads, you still don’t seem to grasp the fundamental relationship between formations and drill, and getting from one to another, nor the limitations in practice that restrict intervals to no more than six feet . You really appear to understand very little about the subject, if statements like “the Hellenistic general could select any depth or interval (based on a sixteen man file of course – which is why the Manuals mention the frontages that a phalanx occupies at the different intervals ) depending on the situation” are anything to go by.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:
paralus wrote:“I did so because the level of discourse on the thread had descended to the personal and the pejorative and did not present a 'good look' for the site. I do not exclude myself from that criticism as all three major (only?) contributors are clearly responsible.”
I take grave exception to this accusation. All three contributors are NOT responsible. Not only have I refrained from personal abuse, insults, sneers etc but I have also appealed repeatedly in recent months for an end to ‘flaming’ and troll-like comments,to no avail, for was ignored.
I would note that I expanded that with "as we all know what has been said explicitly or implicitly" and that I would not troll the thread for examples - and I will not. There is no doubt to me that all three are at fault to varying degrees but your "grave exception" to the "accusation" is noted. It is not unexpected though disappointing all the same.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Paralus wrote:
I would note that I expanded that with "as we all know what has been said explicitly or implicitly" and that I would not troll the thread for examples - and I will not. There is no doubt to me that all three are at fault to varying degrees but your "grave exception" to the "accusation" is noted. It is not unexpected though disappointing all the same.
LOL!!! :lol: :lol: Something of a Freudian slip here, I think....."troll” (along with ‘flaming’) is what we are trying to avoid. In Internet terms 'Trolling' refers to any user behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else in order to provoke a response; being deliberately provocative. It is derived from a type of fishing involving dragging a baited line behind a slow-moving boat.
I suspect what you actually meant was ‘trawling’: to catch fish with a large net called a trawl., hence to search through (something) in order to find someone or something....

My last word on the subject. The legal aphorism “Res ipsa loquitur”/the facts speak for themselves – as any individual patient enough to plough through the 225,000 or so words of this thread will discover.

edited to correct typos.
Last edited by Xenophon on Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Can't quite remember where Arrian's Taktike is being discussed but it is apposite here so as a point of information, Xenophon would you post the version of 5 vi given in the two translations you have (if we might know whose they are that would be handy, I know of one in 'Ancient World' and another re-published by Ares but have neither). The Greek is on Perseus and is


[6] καὶ εἴτε διπλασιάσαι δεήσειεν τὸ βάθος ἐπὶ τριάκοντα δύο ἄνδρας, ἡ τάξις σύμμετρος ἔσται: εἴτε
αὖ μηκῦναι τὸ μέτωπον ἐς ὀκτώ, ἔσται οὐ πάντη ἀβαθὴς ἡ φάλαγξ. τὴν δὲ ἐς ὀκτὼ εἰ ἐκτεῖναι
ἐθελήσειας ἐπὶ τέσσαρας, ἀβαθὴς γίγνεται


The last line seems to be saying something fatal for your case, but maybe it is just my bad translating.
....and.....

Maybe you have mis-placed your books; I make it


And if it is desired to double the depth to 32men, the unit will be of the appropriate measure: again, if prolonging the front line to eight deep, the phalanx will not become wholly lacking in depth. Should one wish to move [the phalanx] from eight to four deep it will become lacking in depth.
-
Ah, not very patient are you.....as I have oft remarked, I don’t seem to have as much time on my hands for such matters as you and Paralus, and can’t respond so quickly, and what with all the ‘double teaming’, I have twice as much to respond to. Not to mention falling behind......

Since this would appear on the face of it to have nothing to do with Kynoskephalae, but seems directly pertinent to the “Taktike” thread, I have responded there in that thread.

After 15 pages of this thread, much of it unfortunately repetitive and un-necessarily argumentative, I don’t think any more need be said, and I don’t propose to post any further here, unless something new comes to light.

'Finis'
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

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Xenophon wrote:I suspect what you actually meant was ‘trawling’: to catch fish with a large net called a trawl., hence to search through (something) in order to find someone or something....
I shall resist the "laughing out loud" and simply observe that you - not for the first time - suspect entirely incorrectly. I meant exactly what I wrote having fished exclusively with fly or lure since I'd hair and it had colour. I'm sure the forum welcomes your lexicographic excursus on fishing parlance and its more recent application to internet forums but it is unnecessary - in my case at least.

As for your last words, the facts do, indeed, speak for themselves - all 45,000 words of them. I've been gracious enough to own mine; yours, it appears, are destined to remain orphans.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by agesilaos »

Replying to Xenophon's post 8 March, 7:35 am.

Since the relevant entries were posted by me verbatim the lack of access you claim is quite bogus, but he corollary is enlightening; you have an old book, 1940, and the newer from 1967 and your response to the differing views is '...I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.'

It would seem that supporting your views is the most important criteria in the selection of evidence, is this 'good method'?
The [usual] is simply a reminder that the usual depth in close order was eight. Given that the Romans had a clear view of Philip’s phalanx advancing down the slope, it would be readily apparent they were 16 deep [double depth]
.

A REMINDER??!! This view has hardly been established, once again you insist on stating your theory as established fact and compound the error with the '16 deep [double depth]', pay-off. Nor does the Greek mean that the Macedonians were 'at double depth'; 'diplasiazein' means to double whatever value already exists, so inserting your '[normal]' and the continued abuse of this word to pretend that Polybios is somehow saying Philip's phalanx 'was at double depth' is both 'foisting' and a 'pretext', your continual attempt to insult the intelligence of the readers is what I find tiresome; then it is the inevitable result of the 'method' you expressed above.

3/11/14 Xenophon wrote
In his appendix,' survey of the sources' [p.281] he writes: "The ideas of the Greek and Achaean world he was familiar with from childhood, and he learnt to appreciate the Roman attitude from associating with Scipio Aemilianus and his circle; but of the Macedonian standpoint he has no inkling." [ again referring to the Andriscus affair in a footnote]
Yet in his 1970 paper 'Polybios and Macedonia' Ancient Macedonia (1970), pp291-307, Walbank makes the career of Philip V central to Polybios' project, and in Book IX 29ff has a speech delineating the Macedonian viewpoint he does express a very similar opinion , but it refers specifically to Polybios’ response to the Andriskos affair
Polybius, with his background in Achaean democracy and the orderly processes of the Roman imperial republic, fails to conceive the enthusiasm which anyone could inspire, once he had persuaded the simple people of Macedonia that he was bringing back their ancient monarchy.
Totally divorced from his sources for Kynoskephalai, therefore and so a canard.

This is a real beauty, though

…but that horsemen could pass through heavy infantry in open order is known from other examples e.g. the Spartan cavalry at Leuktra.
That would be the cavalry that through the Spartan line into disastrous disorder directly causing the defeat that lost them their hegemony!!

Enough the rest of your replies are of similar quality and so obviously fallacious that one of Ben Elton’s over extended similes could see through them. I notice that the theory is once again stated as fact in the thread on the site, I think we can tell the Goebels here. :shock:
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:After 15 pages of this thread, much of it unfortunately repetitive and un-necessarily argumentative, I don’t think any more need be said, and I don’t propose to post any further here, unless something new comes to light.
In fact there is something new which, although present for some time, has been in poor light. Apologies in advance should what follows appear “unnecessarily argumentative”; the argument will be as “necessary” as possible. To begin there is the fact that over the life of this thread I have been convinced by both Xenophon and Agesilaos that, contra Hammond, Philip attacked sixteen deep and not thirty-two deep. When, for the record, I posted this the reaction was:
Xenophon wrote:Which should read “...my NEW position is as follows:”
The implication of ‘backflip’, akin to the Australian politician(s) I was equated with earlier in the thread, I can wear. Which brings us to that which has not been brought into decent light: the discussion of phalanx and legion by Polybios. This was introduced into this thread many pages back by Xenophon:
Xenophon wrote:As another example of interpreting material in isolation, Paralus ( and others) would have it on the strength of XVIII.28 et seq that the phalanx normally fought 16 deep in close order, for having described it, Polybius goes on to say [XVIII.30]:

“From this we can easily conceive what is the nature and force of a charge by the phalanx when it is 16 deep”.

...which I have also seen translated as...

"From this we can readily conceive the nature and force of a charge of the 16 deep phalanx."

Notice that he does NOT say “16 deep in close order”. That is simply an (incorrect) assumption. He knew and would expect his readers to know that generally a phalanx 16 deep would move into ‘close order/pyknosis’ by halving their depth ( to 8 ) just before engaging. This is what all other evidence tells us.
So is Polybius mistaken here ? Not at all. He knew that the ‘standard’ drill meant 16 deep in ‘normal/open order’. We know this because he tells us so at [XII.19]
“A stade, allowing for the distances which must be kept on a march, and reckoning the depth at sixteen, admits of one thousand six hundred men, each man covering six feet. “
i.e. at 16 deep, the men are in ‘normal/open order” – consistent with, and just as the manuals all say. (hardly surprising, since many believe the manuals ultimately derive from lost parts of Polybius)
Here Xenophon argues that Polybios knew, and expected that his readers would also know, that the phalanx, sixteen deep, would halve depth to eight to take ‘close order’ and charge. To add “authority” to this Xenophon emphatically claimed that Polybios is “not at all” mistaken here for he well knew the drill. Indeed the ‘manuals’, as Xenophon says, are believed by “many” to have derived from Polybios. Xenophon’s position on this passage is capitalised and clear. It is more than simply an opinion: there is conviction here; a conviction of long standing for, as has very likely been gleaned, Xenophon and I have debated this subject before – though not on this site. The argument based on what is ‘understood’ by Polybios and his readers has been consistent:
I'm afraid that the way in which you have condensed Polybius' words here is a little misleading. It may not be the case that Polybius has contradicted himself, because the reference to 'close order', and the reference to 16 deep occur in two separate paragraphs, and after describing close order in the first paragraph, in the second one Polybius has reverted to describing what I believe is the 'convention' among Greek authors to refer to depth in 'normal'/open order, and readers would know that such a formation would 'close up' as described in the manuals, and halve it's depth.

Elsewhere, (XVIII.28-30) in describing the pro's and cons of the phalanx, he tells us that a "16 deep phalanx", when closed up, is pretty formidable, and that the rear ranks add to the force of the charge, and prevent the front ranks facing about - he does not refer to the exact depth in this paragraph, nor does he need to, because, in my view, his readers would know that a "sixteen deep phalanx" would close up (to 8 deep) before charging.
…as I pointed out in my previous post, in this passage Polybius doesn't say, indeed no author says, that the Macedonians actually fought 16 deep. There would be no need to add "after it has closed up" because it is clear from the the previous paragraph that he is talking about a 'close order' phalanx, and if my hypothesis is correct then his readers would know that a 16 deep phalanx in 'normal'/open order with the men 6 feet apart ( as Polybius categorically states) would close up to 8 deep to fight.
As can be seen, the stated view is that Polybios, familiar with the phalanx, well knows that his exampled phalanx, sixteen deep, will halve its depth to eight to take close order and charge. Further, Polybios does not need to state the depth that phalanx is in when it is ‘closed up’ for he knows that his readers will realise this will be eight deep from the sixteen he’s described. Polybios understood and expected his readers would as well. Exactly what was argued above on this very thread.

It is interesting, then, that Xenophon, in the same post, considers the possibility Polybios may actually speak of this sixteen deep phalanx in ‘close order’:
Xenophon wrote:But what if he did mean “in close order” ? Given that he has just described Cynoscephalae where the phalanx did indeed charge 16 deep in close order, that too is possible.
And there it was left until much later in the thread when suddenly Polybios’ understanding (and that of his readers) that the phalanx would halve its depth before charging was lost on the wind. Having told us in no uncertain terms that Polybios “does NOT say ‘16 deep in close order’” - that being an “incorrect assumption” – Xenophon now claims that this is, in fact, exactly what Polybios says. This because Polybios must now only be referring to Philip’s specific sixteen deep close order phalanx of Kynoskephalai. What was originally only “possible” - an afterthought to conviction – has become incontrovertible fact; errant assumption now perspicacious insight. A long held conviction is overturned.

To sustain a theory, a long held conviction is thrown to the wind. To bolster this theory Polybios, once so familiar with a phalanx that he understood that this sixteen deep example became eight deep in 'close order' is now, in a general comparison, comparing the specific formation of Kynoskephalai to a general Roman system. Polybios, now, is also someone who occasions "considerable doubts as to his military competence".

Perhaps Xenophon’s latest interpretation of this passage (circular of course) should be preceded by “...my NEW position is as follows:”

The matter of Philip’s phalanx closing to the right is similar. It is Xenophon’s repeated assertion that this is “unique”. It is further claimed that this is only detailed in the ‘manuals’ because of the fact it only occurred here at Kynoskephalai and the progenitor of the ‘manuals’ included it because of this. Circular again. From a letter to the editor of Ancient Warfare (VI.4 p 5):
I would agree that, as per the manuals, the late Hellenistic phalanx was capable of ‘closing up’ laterally, that is by the ranks ‘closing up’ rather than by files, so as to retain the same depth, but halve the frontage (in addition to being able to close up by half files).
And elsewhere:
“Actually Aelian is suggesting that the general should contract his line and thus lessen his frontage (see chapter XXXII).”
Yes, it is apparent that by the end of the Phalanx’s evolution, there were 3 ways for it to close up; By half-files; by every second man stepping forward; and by contracting the frontage either to the left, right or centre. All are described in the manuals.
Nothing to indicate that this was unique and, more so, uniquely performed at Kynoskephalai.

Ambiguity is also apparent in the matter of Walbank’s postulation of a Macedonian source for Kynoskephalai. Xenophon rejected this in the following manner:
As to Macedonian sources, Polybius is unlikely to have interviewed any witnesses, writing as he was some two generations later. Being Achaean, he was somewhat anti-Macedonian, and so far as is known, never went there. That he knew little or nothing of the Macedonian viewpoint is shown by his comments on Andriscus’ rebellion [xxxvi.17.15], and by his treatment of Philip and his son Perseus as simple tyrants. He may have relied for his information on Macedon second-hand from Demetrias of Phalerum, whom elsewhere he dismisses as ‘a cheap explanation’. Hence his information is at best second-hand, and not from a contemporary Macedonian source. I rely here on Walbank’s commentaries.
(My italics)

The basis for this rejection was Walbank's Commentaries on Polybios (HCP) as the Italics show. When this was questioned - as Walbank’s HCP did not support Xenophon’s view - Xenophon defended his position:
I stand by my comments. Unfortunately my reference was a full online version, which has since been taken down/removed, and I don't have a hard copy, so can't give exact references..........

I drew on both the Commentaries and "Philip V"when writing my original post, and as I said it is obvious that any information on matters Macedonian must ultimately go back to a Macedonian source.
Eventually becoming:
As I have mentioned elsewhere, not having access to this I was not aware of Walbank’s comments in the HCP, only what I accurately quoted from “Philip V”.


I have pointed out more than once that I did not have access to ‘commentaries’ to check, and I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.
Now, the latter relates to Walbank's discussion of the phalanx doubling its depth, which discussion does not support Xenophon's view (nor does the mentioned Philip V quote for that matter as I’ve pointed out). That, though, occurs in the exact same discussion concerning the posited Macedonian source.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Xenophon »

Post by agesilaos » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:32 pm
“If you go back one more page to the foot of page 7 you will see that the spark for the lengthy debate was your claim that Walbank’s Commentaries supported your views which you stood by. Instead of simply admitting that it was his ‘Philip V’ you persisted in denying what he says in the Commentaries meant what it clearly does and now you simply reject his statement; nothing wrong in that per se but you might like to add that Walbank clearly does NOT support your view. “

Xenophon wrote:
I have pointed out more than once that I did not have access to ‘Commentary on Polybius' to check, and I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.
Well, well, it seems leopards can’t change their spots !! After having agreed with Paralus that “the thread had descended to the personal and the pejorative and did not present a 'good look' for the site” ....and.... “Have to hold my hands up for being part, and a bigger part, of the problem than Para”, just a few posts later Agesilaos makes a post which says nothing whatever directly about the subject matter of the thread – the battle of Kynoskephalae – and which is nothing but yet another derogatory and disparaging personal attack on me!!

In Agesilaos usual style, quotations are taken out of context, twisted to try and make black into white, and seasoned with the usual spray of personal insults.

Replying to Xenophon's post 8 March, 7:35 am.

Since the relevant entries were posted by me verbatim the lack of access you claim is quite bogus, but he corollary is enlightening; you have an old book, 1940, and the newer from 1967 and your response to the differing views is '...I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.'

It would seem that supporting your views is the most important criteria in the selection of evidence, is this 'good method'?
A good example of taking something out of context, and then twisting it into something offensive.
All this was in response to false accusations that I had ‘lied’ over what Walbank said, which I had not. I’ve no idea what your obscure remarks about an ‘old book’ are meant to convey – Polybius and Livy are a darn sight older !

The full quotation reads:

“Post by agesilaos » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:32 pm
“If you go back one more page to the foot of page 7 you will see that the spark for the lengthy debate was your claim that Walbank’s Commentaries supported your views which you stood by. Instead of simply admitting that it was his ‘Philip V’ you persisted in denying what he says in the Commentaries meant what it clearly does and now you simply reject his statement; nothing wrong in that per se but you might like to add that Walbank clearly does NOT support your view. “


I have pointed out more than once that I did not have access to ‘commentaries’ to check, and I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.”
I was quoting Walbank’s words and opinion from his Philip V as support for the view Polybius had not consulted Macedonian sources ( not mine alone) and that Polybius “ .... in the case of Philip V is hampered by a fundamental lack of understanding.....of the Macedonian standpoint he has no inkling.” And also “We may therefore conclude that Polybius investigations about Philip were mainly at Rome, and that these, along with his own earlier notes and recollections, form the basis of his account.”
Neither Walbank nor myself share your unique imaginary view that Polybius had some direct “contemporary Macedonian source” to convey the exact substance of what Philip did and said on the battlefield around almost half a century earlier. God knows why you keep harping on about something that is pretty irrelevant anyway.

Agesliaos wrote:
Xenophon wrote:
[usual] is simply a reminder that the usual depth in close order was eight. Given that the Romans had a clear view of Philip’s phalanx advancing down the slope, it would be readily apparent they were 16 deep [double depth]
.

“A REMINDER??!! This view has hardly been established, once again you insist on stating your theory as established fact and compound the error with the '16 deep [double depth]', pay-off.”
Yes, a reminder! For the “nth” time, this is not just my theory ( that Greek and Macedonian phalanxes fought in half-files in close order), but also that of Anderson and Connolly, and has not been seriously disputed since it was first published in the late ‘70s, and is the established view. The manuals and Polybius are quite conclusive in this, as has been demonstrated here time and time again. Against that we have just you ( and apparently Paralus too, though he can't seem to make his mind up and is equivocal, depending on the occasion), with your limited understanding of the subject, asserting otherwise on the basis of no evidence at all.

Agesilaos wrote
Nor does the Greek mean that the Macedonians were 'at double depth'; 'diplasiazein' means to double whatever value already exists, so inserting your '[normal]' and the continued abuse of this word to pretend that Polybios is somehow saying Philip's phalanx 'was at double depth' is both 'foisting' and a 'pretext', your continual attempt to insult the intelligence of the readers is what I find tiresome; then it is the inevitable result of the 'method' you expressed above.
This is completely contradictory to your earlier assertions that Philip’s formation was formed ‘double depth’[argued ad infinitum], and also that it was in a formation 16 deep in close order! Which contradiction I have alluded to earlier (assertions I agree with, for reasons set out earlier in this 15 page, 225,000 word marathon). Now we have the assertion that 16 deep in close order was the normal fighting depth ( which is incorrect, it appears to have been only used against Romans who fought unusually deep in their ‘triplex acies’). Philip did NOT ’ διπλασιάζειν τὸ βάθος/ ‘double his depth’, prior to charging ? Or are you now a convert to Paralus’( and Walbank) “8 deep in open order”? – an unlikely, to the point of impossible, assertion. Your assertions seem to be based on shifting quicksand.

Whether Polybius correctly understood what exactly Philip did, there can be no doubt that at Kynoskephalae, Philip’s right wing charged 16 deep in close order, and I assume you still don’t dispute this, though it is hard to make out exactly what you are now asserting.....


This is a real beauty, though

…but that horsemen could pass through heavy infantry in open order is known from other examples e.g. the Spartan cavalry at Leuktra.


That would be the cavalry that through the Spartan line into disastrous disorder directly causing the defeat that lost them their hegemony!!
Perhaps Leuktra is not the best example, but even so, even if the Spartan hoplites were briefly disordered (Xen Hell. VI.4.13), they must have quickly recovered, because when the Hoplite phalanxes actually engaged, the Spartans were in the process of a manoeuvre ( a ‘folding back’) to envelop the Theban formation, and it was only swift action by Pelopidas that thwarted this ( Plutarch Pelopidas 23.2).

You have nothing to say about Kynoskephalae, yet have posted what are purely pejorative personal attacks in your usual shrill sneering style. My appeals to conduct a more civilised debate ( and those of Paralus) have fallen on deaf ears, and since I won’t stoop to respond in kind, it seems I have no choice but to stay silent as a means of preventing you dragging the forum into further disrepute with your ‘flaming’ and ‘trolling’. Do you not understand that no-one wants to read such insulting and offensive rubbish ? That it leaves a bad taste in the mouth ? Keep it up elsewhere and you will surely destroy the forum, as you have destroyed this thread......but it is apparent you cannot help yourself.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
“Xenophon wrote:
After 15 pages of this thread, much of it unfortunately repetitive and un-necessarily argumentative, I don’t think any more need be said, and I don’t propose to post any further here, unless something new comes to light.

In fact there is something new which, although present for some time, has been in poor light. Apologies in advance should what follows appear “unnecessarily argumentative”; the argument will be as “necessary” as possible. To begin there is the fact that over the life of this thread I have been convinced by both Xenophon and Agesilaos that, contra Hammond, Philip attacked sixteen deep and not thirty-two deep. When I, for the record, posted this the reaction was:


Xenophon wrote:Which should read “...my NEW position is as follows:”


The implication of ‘backflip’, akin to the Australian politician(s) I was equated with earlier in the thread, I can wear.”
No, the NEW was to denote the fact that you had adopted a new position, because you writing “my position...” was misleading in that your position had previously been something completely different.
This post of over 1,700 words says not a thing about Kynoskephalae, let alone anything new, and is purely and simply a long piece of attempted character assassination and personal criticism . It is purely argumentative and is – as Paralus might say – a spiteful “attack on my integrity”. He now joins his chum Agesilaos in ‘double teaming’ personal attacks, and it seems an odd co-incidence that both of you should resort to posts which are purely personal attacks simultaneously. Co-ordination perhaps?

It saddens me that so much time and effort has gone into this failed attack, when it could have been put to better use dealing with the subject, or even some other subject....and I wouldn’t have to waste my time in refuting an irrelevancy.

This is but another example of Paralus’ oft-used method of trawling ( note: not ‘trolling’, which has another meaning altogether :lol: ) through the thread looking for supposed inconsistencies as a means of personally attacking the poster, invariably me. Paralus also demonstrates in this post, yet again, that he does not grasp military principles, or the essence of ancient drill and formations ( the latter two of which must go hand in glove.)
There is no inconsistency by me here regarding Polybius ‘phalanx v legion’ passage at [XVIII.28 ff]:
“30. With this point in our minds, it will not be difficult to imagine what the appearance and strength of the whole phalanx is likely to be, when, with lowered sarissae, it advances to the charge sixteen deep. Of these sixteen ranks, all above the fifth are unable to reach with their sarissae far enough to take actual part in the fighting. They, therefore, do not lower them, but hold them with the points inclined upwards over the shoulders of the ranks in front of them, to shield the heads of the whole phalanx; for the sarissae are so closely serried, that they repel missiles which have carried over the front ranks and might fall upon the heads of those in the rear. These rear ranks, however, during an advance, press forward those in front by the weight of their bodies; and thus make the charge very forcible, and at the same time render it impossible for the front ranks to face about.”

Now we know from the manuals and Polybius that the phalanx marched and manoeuvred, and advanced to contact in ‘normal/open’ order, i.e. at 6 ft intervals, but when close to the enemy, closed up into ‘pyknosis/close order’ of 3 ft intervals for the charge and actual combat. Polybius does not specify an order here, and ambiguously says both “advance” and “charge”, so could mean either 16 in ‘normal/open’ order, which would close up to 8 before contact, or he could mean 16 deep in close order, which would be ‘double depth’ or ‘double phalanx’, as he has just described for Kynoskephalae. This is the only occasion Polybius specifies depth, and for this reason we might infer it was not the norm. As Paralus’ quotations show, I canvassed both possibilities.
No long held conviction overturned or ‘lost in the wind’, no ‘new’ position – that is merely Paralus’ interpretation, bolstered by quotations taken out of their context, in order to manufacture an ‘ambiguity’ which is in reality non-existent.
It remains my conviction ( along with Anderson and Connolly since the 1970's !! )that the Macedonian –type phalanx, like its hoplite predecessor - generally operated in ‘open’ order, but closed up shortly before contact with the enemy into ‘half-files’ i.e. from 16 deep to 8 deep. [ as expressed in Paralus' 5 year old out-of-context quotations], The evidence for both Greek hoplites and Macedonian ones operating in this way is both plentiful and incontrovertible, and goes beyond the literature. Naturally, tactical or terrain considerations would lead to exceptions – such as Kynoskephalae, Pydna, Sellasia or Magnesia.
That Polybius was “something of a military dill” are the words of Paralus, not me, though there is evidence that he was not so militarily knowledgeable as some would believe. That is another subject altogether, perhaps for another day.

Paralus wrote:
The matter of Philip’s phalanx closing to the right is similar. It is Xenophon’s repeated assertion that this is “unique”. It is further claimed that this is only detailed in the ‘manuals’ because of the fact it only occurred here at Kynoskephalai and the progenitor of the ‘manuals’ included it because of this. Circular again. From a letter to the editor of Ancient Warfare (VI.4 p 5):

I would agree that, as per the manuals, the late Hellenistic phalanx was capable of ‘closing up’ laterally, that is by the ranks ‘closing up’ rather than by files, so as to retain the same depth, but halve the frontage (in addition to being able to close up by half files).

And elsewhere:

“Actually Aelian is suggesting that the general should contract his line and thus lessen his frontage (see chapter XXXII).”
Yes, it is apparent that by the end of the Phalanx’s evolution, there were 3 ways for it to close up; By half-files; by every second man stepping forward; and by contracting the frontage either to the left, right or centre. All are described in the manuals.

Nothing to indicate that this was unique and, more so, uniquely performed at Kynoskephalai.
That is because the subject matter was not Kynoskephalae, but the general depth of Macedonian phalanx formations. Once again, Paralus takes quotations out of context ( from another forum) and incidently displays yet again his lack of basic military knowledge and inability to distinguish what is theoretically possible, from what is practical, and really occurred on the battlefield. Note that both those quotations refer to what the manuals say i.e. theory. With regard to lateral closing, it must be evident even to a “military dill” that an army whose frontage was significantly shorter than its opponent’s was generally doomed to defeat by being outflanked, and in such situations the sensible General refused battle. In all our sources on ancient battles, and phalanx battles in particular, there is only one description of a phalanx laterally closing – Kynoskephalae, with its singular circumstances, and the shortened frontage duly led to complete disaster. Since it is never described as occurring on any other occasion, the ‘lateral closing’ used in practice on a real battlefield IS uniquely performed at that battle. I defy Paralus to come up with another example – and it won’t do to rationalise with the ‘ad ignorandium’ fallacy that we aren’t told about every phalanx battle, so it might have happened on other occasions.

And the postulation that this manoeuvre is described in the manuals, when many others are not ( see earlier post) MAY be because it actually occurred at Kynoskephalae is certainly a possibility – and I put it no more strongly than that.
There is no ‘latest interpretation’. Paralus takes quotations from an entirely different forum, and the subject of the debate was the general/normal battle order of the Macedonian phalanx, not Kynoskephalae, which is a different debate entirely and Paralus is again taking statements out of context.

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon rejected this in the following manner:

As to Macedonian sources, Polybius is unlikely to have interviewed any witnesses, writing as he was some two generations later. Being Achaean, he was somewhat anti-Macedonian, and so far as is known, never went there. That he knew little or nothing of the Macedonian viewpoint is shown by his comments on Andriscus’ rebellion [xxxvi.17.15], and by his treatment of Philip and his son Perseus as simple tyrants. He may have relied for his information on Macedon second-hand from Demetrias of Phalerum, whom elsewhere he dismisses as ‘a cheap explanation’. Hence his information is at best second-hand, and not from a contemporary Macedonian source. I rely here on Walbank’s commentaries.
(My italics)
The basis for this rejection was Walbank's Commentaries on Polybios (HCP) as the Italics show.
This is quite incorrect – you’ll notice the lower case ‘commentaries’. If I had meant just his “Commentaries on Polybius”, I’d have capitalised it, just as you have, and as I did in your second quotation. I meant his commentaries generally, both those on Polybius and his commentary on sources in his “Philip V of Macedon” - as I clarified in that second quotation.
When this was questioned - as Walbank’s HCP did not support Xenophon’s view - Xenophon defended his position:
I stand by my comments. Unfortunately my reference was a full online version, which has since been taken down/removed, and I don't have a hard copy, so can't give exact references..........
I drew on both the Commentaries and "Philip V"when writing my original post, and as I said it is obvious that any information on matters Macedonian must ultimately go back to a Macedonian source.

Eventually becoming:

As I have mentioned elsewhere, not having access to this I was not aware of Walbank’s comments in the HCP, only what I accurately quoted from “Philip V”.
I have pointed out more than once that I did not have access to ‘commentaries’ to check, and I quoted Walbank’s remarks in ‘Philip V’ quite correctly, which DOES support my views, even if he says something different elsewhere.
Taken out of context yet again ! My remark was in response to your quoting the HCP:
“[ b]Walbank, HCP, V II, 582, 588[/b]
(24) 8 διπλασιάζειν τὸ βάθος καὶ πυκνοῦν ἐπὶ τὸ δεξιόν: They were to change from the marching depth of eight men to the battle line of sixteen men (cf 30.1), and to reduce the space occupied by each man from 6 ft (xii. 19.7) to 3 ft (29.3);”

Since I was having to rely on memory, it is hardly to be wondered at that I did not recall every word of Walbank’s huge ‘magnum opus’.With only “Philip V of Macedon” to check, it was an obvious inference that since Walbank stated “double its depth to sixteen men”, that he meant single depth to be 8 men.


Paralus wrote:
Now, the latter relates to Walbank's discussion of the phalanx doubling its depth, which discussion does not support Xenophon's view (nor does the mentioned Philip V quote for that matter as I’ve pointed out).
It certainly DOES support the view ( not just mine) that Philip’s phalanx fought 16 deep as Walbank says, as plain as a sarissa staff, and contra the view that you were espousing at the time, that Philip fought 32 deep. ( Even if it turns out, as the HCP quote demonstrates, that Walbank subsequently believed, quite wrongly, that 8 deep was marching depth rather than fighting depth.)

Was there a point to this scurrilous attack ? Perhaps he was trying to suggest that I have somehow changed my view on phalanx depth? I have not. We don't know because Paralus ends his post abruptly without saying, or drawing any conclusions.
There is no ‘ambiguity’ in anything I’ve said, especially when it is placed in context. This is just argument and carping for carping’s sake.
As Paralus says:
This is as it should be, debate without end. Amen.”
More like a barrage of constant personal attack by Agesilaos and Paralus without end. A sad reflection on you both.

Since neither of you have anything relevant to the subject matter of the thread to say, perhaps we draw a line here, before the two of you expend another 250,000 or so words alternating attacks on me.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:This is but another example of Paralus’ oft-used method of trawling ( note: not ‘trolling’, which has another meaning altogether :lol: ) through the thread looking for supposed inconsistencies as a means of personally attacking the poster, invariably me.
I rather think not. Nor is this a "character assassination" but that does go a way to explaining Xenophon's 'from the bunker' view. Nor is pointing out a stark inconsistency "personal attack"; it attacks the argument though Xenophon seemingly now sees the two as one and the same.

Xenophon has stated more than once that Polybios' description of phalanx v legion is informed by his description of Kynoskephalai. More to the point, Xenophon has claimed that the phalanx example - sixteen deep - actually is that of Kynoskephalai. No debate entered into. Thus Polybios describes a phalanx sixteen deep in close order. As much was fully argued on page four. The other possibility was simply that: "possible".

The inconsistency in argument is, to me, clear. Initially (and over quite some years of discourse) Xenophon's firm view of 18.30.1-4 was that Polybios knew and expected his readers to know that the phalanx would close up by half file. It was never the specific phalanx of Kynoskephalai. His current view is that Polybios did indeed describe a phalanx sixteen deep in 'close order' at 18.30.1-4; the phalanx of Kynoskephalai. The rationale being Philip charged sixteen deep at Kynoskephalai. How do we know this? Because Polybios tells us at 18.30.1-4, which passage describes Philip's phalanx because it was sixteen deep at Kynoskephalai. Hermeneutic circle and a different position.
Xenophon wrote:Since I was having to rely on memory, it is hardly to be wondered at that I did not recall every word of Walbank’s huge ‘magnum opus’.With only “Philip V of Macedon” to check, it was an obvious inference that since Walbank stated “double its depth to sixteen men”, that he meant single depth to be 8 men.
A huge magnum opis it is. As such I, and I would assume Xenophon, consulted the section dealing specifically with Kynoskephalai and phalanx v legion which immediately follows in the HCP as well as in Polybios. Walbank, as the earlier quoted sections show, is quite specific here and does not cohere with Xenophon.
Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:The basis for this rejection was Walbank's Commentaries on Polybios (HCP) as the Italics show.
This is quite incorrect – you’ll notice the lower case ‘commentaries’. If I had meant just his “Commentaries on Polybius”, I’d have capitalised it, just as you have, and as I did in your second quotation.I meant his commentaries generally, both those on Polybius and his commentary on sources in his “Philip V of Macedon” - as I clarified in that second quotation.
Yet Xenophon's immediate reply at the time was:
Xenophon wrote:I stand by my comments. Unfortunately my reference was a full online version, which has since been taken down/removed, and I don't have a hard copy, so can't give exact references..........
Which can really only indicate that the Historical Commentary on Polybios was meant unless an online version of Philip V is being referred to but Xenophon's statements indicate he has a hard copy of that. Further, there is this:
I drew on both the Commentaries and "Philip V"when writing my original post, and as I said it is obvious that any information on matters Macedonian must ultimately go back to a Macedonian source.
Capitalised and clearly indicating that the Historical Commentaries are meant.

Was there a point? Yes: the inconsistency in argument.
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:This is but another example of Paralus’ oft-used method of trawling ( note: not ‘trolling’, which has another meaning altogether :lol: ) through the thread looking for supposed inconsistencies as a means of personally attacking the poster, invariably me.
I rather think not. Nor is this a "character assassination" but that does go a way to explaining Xenophon's 'from the bunker' view. Nor is pointing out a stark inconsistency "personal attack"; it attacks the argument though Xenophon seemingly now sees the two as one and the same.
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 ? You don't 'attack the argument', the position I've taken, in the slightest, not one word from start to finish of your previous post putting an alternate view, or presenting evidence, or even any assertions about 'the argument'. Just personal criticism that I am 'inconsistent', relying on dredged up statements taken out of context, from a debate about a different subject on a different forum almost 6 years ago !

Nor is there any 'inconsistency', let alone 'stark', in my views. 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. 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'.
Xenophon has stated more than once that Polybios' description of phalanx v legion is informed by his description of Kynoskephalai. More to the point, Xenophon has claimed that the phalanx example - sixteen deep - actually is that of Kynoskephalai. No debate entered into. Thus Polybios describes a phalanx sixteen deep in close order. As much was fully argued on page four. The other possibility was simply that: "possible".
That is just the 'spin' you choose to put on it. Evidently you didn't read my previous post properly. I wrote:
Polybius does not specify an order here, and ambiguously says both “advance” and “charge”, so could mean either 16 in ‘normal/open’ order, which would close up to 8 before contact, or he could mean 16 deep in close order, which would be ‘double depth’ or ‘double phalanx’, as he has just described for Kynoskephalae. This is the only occasion Polybius specifies depth, and for this reason we might infer it was not the norm. As Paralus’ quotations show, I canvassed both possibilities.
No long held conviction overturned or ‘lost in the wind’, no ‘new’ position – that is merely Paralus’ interpretation, bolstered by quotations taken out of their context, in order to manufacture an ‘ambiguity’ which is in reality non-existent.

Indeed, as you pointed out, here I referred to both possibilities - that Polybius meant 16 in the usual 'open order' ( which would then have closed up to half-files of 8 in 'close order), or alternately was referring to the 'double depth' of 16 in 'close order', as exemplified by Kynoskephalae, which Polybius has just finished describing. Neither possibility supports the idea that 'close order' was usually 16 deep.
The inconsistency in argument is, to me, clear. Initially (and over quite some years of discourse) Xenophon's firm view of 18.30.1-4 was that Polybios knew and expected his readers to know that the phalanx would close up by half file. It was never the specific phalanx of Kynoskephalai. His current view is that Polybios did indeed describe a phalanx sixteen deep in 'close order' at 18.30.1-4; the phalanx of Kynoskephalai........
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.
( digression : Do you know why the Macedonians employed a 'double depth' phalanx, despite its disadvantages, against the Romans ? Hint! I have alluded to the reason in this thread.)
..... The rationale being Philip charged sixteen deep at Kynoskephalai. How do we know this? Because Polybios tells us at 18.30.1-4, which passage describes Philip's phalanx because it was sixteen deep at Kynoskephalai. Hermeneutic circle and a different position.
What balderdash! No 'circular argument' at all. 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:
That is the clincher.
Are you suffering from short-term memory loss, a.k.a 'old-timers disease'? :lol:
...is now, in a general comparison, comparing the specific formation of Kynoskephalai to a general Roman system.
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.
Xenophon wrote:Since I was having to rely on memory, it is hardly to be wondered at that I did not recall every word of Walbank’s huge ‘magnum opus’.With only “Philip V of Macedon” to check, it was an obvious inference that since Walbank stated “double its depth to sixteen men”, that he meant single depth to be 8 men.
A huge magnum opis[sic] it is. As such I, and I would assume Xenophon, consulted the section dealing specifically with Kynoskephalai and phalanx v legion which immediately follows in the HCP as well as in Polybios. Walbank, as the earlier quoted sections show, is quite specific here and does not cohere with Xenophon.
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.

Paralus wrote:
Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:The basis for this rejection was Walbank's Commentaries on Polybios (HCP) as the Italics show.
This is quite incorrect – you’ll notice the lower case ‘commentaries’. If I had meant just his “Commentaries on Polybius”, I’d have capitalised it, just as you have, and as I did in your second quotation.I meant his commentaries generally, both those on Polybius and his commentary on sources in his “Philip V of Macedon” - as I clarified in that second quotation.
Yet Xenophon's immediate reply at the time was:
Xenophon wrote:I stand by my comments. Unfortunately my reference was a full online version, which has since been taken down/removed, and I don't have a hard copy, so can't give exact references..........
Which can really only indicate that the Historical Commentary on Polybios was meant unless an online version of Philip V is being referred to but Xenophon's statements indicate he has a hard copy of that. Further, there is this:
I drew on both the Commentaries and "Philip V"when writing my original post, and as I said it is obvious that any information on matters Macedonian must ultimately go back to a Macedonian source.
Capitalised and clearly indicating that the Historical Commentaries are meant.
Yes, in the first case I was referring to the HCP. I originally referred collectively to 'commentaries'[lower case] meaning both the HCP and Walbank's commentary on sources in the "Philip V" - as is clear from this:
As to Walbank's comments, 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. In his appendix,' survey of the sources' [p.281] he writes:
"The ideas of the Greek and Achaean world he was familiar with from childhood, and he learnt to appreciate the Roman attitude from associating with Scipio Aemilianus and his circle; but of the Macedonian standpoint he has no inkling." [ again referring to the Andriscus affair in a footnote]
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.

Was there a point? Yes: the inconsistency in argument.
.....Except there's no inconsistency in any of your 'exampla', that you've spent so much time and effort marshalling your personal accusations of such. Like a said, a sad waste of time and effort.....

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.
Paralus wrote march 8:
Before that, though, there is the notion that Polybios' discourse on phalanx and legion is based solely on this battle which has been raised most recently. I disagree with that entirely and will get around to posting on same eventually.
note: I did not, of course, say "solely", since Polybius is generalising.



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."
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Xenophon
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Re: Antigonid : Play misty for me: Kynoskephalai

Post by Xenophon »

Since this has now descended into the realms of just your and Agesilaos' personal attacks on me, with neither of you even bothering to so much as mention the topic, let alone post anything pertinent to the subject, I refuse to participate any further - if only because I don't believe anyone could possibly have any interest in reading such things, and I shouldn't have to waste time and effort defending myself. :evil:

It all smacks of Monty Python's "Five minute argument " sketch:
"That's not a proper argument!"
"Yes it is."
"It's just direct contradiction....." etc :( :(
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