The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

Apart from the fact that it would be unusual to have a single name for two sets of hills separated by a pass, none of the ridges/hills to the West of the Palaepharsalus/Krini pass remotely resemble a 'Dog Head' type feature from any angle that I can see, whereas the single hill to the east of Palaepharsalus clearly resembles a dog head, and is very visible as such
The name was Kynos Kephalae, and as everyone has mentioned it means dog heads, thus 2 or more mountains or hills, in Krini we have one hill. It is also not easy to identify a certain shape in hils and mountains, for example where you see dog heads (the hill next to Krini) i only see a single hill with no certain shape. The same of course goes for the Mavrovouni site, but it has at least 2 tall hills, and one more at the south and they are rocky with rough terrain, (which fits better with the descriptions you posted). And let's not forget that after thousands of years the shape of spots in mountains like these can change.

One more thing, i am not sure where or not fog and low visibility could easily form at the hill that you suggest, but it could easily form in the more complex scenery of Mavrovouni.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

Ok, after doing some research, i saw the proposed site by Hammond, which has rather flat hills. Of course taking into account that even small hills could be rough for battle, it may be the site. However none of these hills are high or even remotely similar to dog heads. Thus the name must have another origin, unless that's not the site. I don't know why locals call Mavrovouni the site for KynosKephalae, but it seems to fit the description, though a battle there would have been a lot harder.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Paralus »

Hi Stathi.

That location near to Mira is in a similar area to the West Point location the latter being a tad to the south east. Below is a screenshot from Google Earth which showing the "campaign map" I'd worked out prior to writing the article for Ancient Warfare Magazine, a Google Maps screenshot of the topography of both those locations and also the Kremaste location adopted by myself:
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Kremaste.1.png
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Apologies about the size - file limitations I'm afraid - but they'll give an idea of where to look. I've added the location you've tracked down as well as the West Point location. The former is the peak at the top of the map (near to the search bar) and the latter the three peaks running SW - NE at the bottom right adjacent to the National Park's southern edge. The first thing to notice is that Philip's camp near to Pherai (30 stades north) will be somewhere between modern Agrokipio and Chloi. Both these locations would presume a line of march unnecessarily north for a march west. Secondly, a battle at either of the two sites about Mavrovouni would see Flamininus march to Eretria and then need to turn north leaving the Enipeus plain well behind. This would place him far from the "territory of Pharsalos". Neither of these two locations can be correct and the correct location must be somewhere on the Enipeus side of the Karadag Range. Perhaps Descourt is correct. More map crawling to be done.

My battle line runs along the ridge just east of Kremaste (near where the modern road swings south west onto the Kremaste spur) across to the hill just east of the modern highway.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Sean M. wrote:
Is there anything on towns and roads in the Barrington Atlas to help? They have small-scale maps, and I would take their reconstruction of Late Hellenistic Thessaly pretty seriously.
Many thanks for that, Sean. Unfortunately for the location of the relevant places, they use Decort ( to whom Agesilaos refers). I followed this up also, and Decort is hopelessly wrong in locating various places. I wasted many hours ploughing through this turgid stuff on what turned out to be an unhelpful wild goose chase. As my Granny would say, "Bad scran tae ye, Agesilaos !" :evil: for suggesting I peruse it ! The more so as my French is a little rusty, my not having been to France for a number of years.

In his 250 plus pages, Decort devotes a mere 7 to the battle, most of which is narrative paraphrasing Polybius/Livy, and in the end doesn't offer up an actual battle-site, just a general area largely following Pritchett’s “tentative” suggestion.[p.113] He is more interested in the Enipeus valley itself, unsurprising given the title of his work “La Vallee de l’Enipeus en Thessalie” ! For example, by comparison, he devotes some 10 pages to Philip’s progress ravaging the Enipeus valley. He is evidently unaware of Hammond's work and paper, which readers will recall rejected both Kromayer and Pritchett's sites, rightly in my view. Both sites must be rejected for a number of reasons, for example the terrain not remotely matching source descriptions, and both being too far east - they require Philip and Flamininus to cover ridiculously short distances on their respective second days march, for example. Nor can their suggested sites be taken seriously when they don’t address the criteria in the sources, but instead rely on speculation about the location of unknown sites, such as ‘Melambium’ and the ‘Thetideion’, as does Decort.

Moreover Kromayer and Pritchett’s sites rely on the main road north being essentially the ‘modern’ one, which does not actually reach Larissa even now, and there is no evidence it existed in ancient times. In fact, the earliest reference to it seems to be Leon Heuzey in the mid 19th century. It will be interesting to see if Agesilaos can find earlier references, though I suspect it will prove to be an exercise in frustration, for I certainly can’t find any ancient references to such a road.

Decort does however go into much discussion about the location of various relevant sites.[pp210 ff] Without getting bogged down in detail, he rejects various scholars 5 different locations for Palaepharsalus, including Morgan’s locating it at modern Krini. The reasons he gives for rejecting Morgan are that continuous occupation is unproven, that Caesar ( who provides an eye-witness account with many topographical details) is too vague (!), and that Peutinger’s table references requires name changes/variations/emendations ! In fact these are obvious corruptions and different scribal spellings down the ages, readily recognisable. He plumps for locating it, on rather dubious grounds, at Xylades, some 7 km west of Eretria, and about 12 km EAST of Pharsalus! He also claims that the “Thetideion se trouve donc certainement dans la plaine, a la extremite orientale de la valley de l’Enipeus au pied des Revenia”.[ Thetideion is to be certainly found then in the plain, at the extreme easterly point of the Enipeus valley at the foot of the Revenia] i.e. some 5 km north of Xylades. This does not really fit the evidence of Euripides and Strabo referred to by Hammond [p.67]. Moreover, it is all too likely that there were many shrines to Thetis as corn-goddess in Thessaly. Worse still Decort’s interpretation has Flamininus reversing course and going back on himself, and marching east to arrive at Cynoscephalae ! I have no hesitation in rejecting this postulation, for there is no hint of this in Polybius,Livy, or Plutarch.

By contrast, Morgan’s paper runs to over 30 pages, and is not concerned with Philip V’s campaign, but rather that of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey in 48 BC.[Like Philip V before him, Pompey had his base at Larissa]. Morgan’s arguments are cogent and convincing, and as Hammond recognised, quite conclusive. He shows that Caesar’s topographical details and general description can only mean that Palaepharsalus was at modern Krini. Then quite separately and independently, he shows that the itineraries of Peutingers table and the Cosmographia also place Palaepharsalus at Krini.[see Morgan Appendix 1]. Lastly archaeological pottery finds indicate that in Hellenistic and Roman times, it was quite a large and important place. ( as also evidenced by it being one of the 5 cities of the Enipeus valley ravaged by Philip V )

Incidently, Decort also shows the main north-south roads going via Pherae and Palaepharsalus, as Morgan, Hammond, and myself do (see e.g. any of the map plates such as plate 12), though he has the South-western route further to the west, by-passing Pharsalus and Krini [contra the itineraries, which he does not consider] and postulates a link Pharsalus to Larissa by a minor track/road following the route of the modern road ( though there is no evidence for this).

Agesilaos wrote:
on principle, however I would concede that were there no route via Zoodikos Pyrge and Chalkiades in ancient times your feature near Krini would be a good fit.
I don’t say that there was necessarily no route at all – there may have been a track of some sort, for example, as postulated by Decort – but rather that it was not the major route/highway that an army would take, which was the Larissa-Crannon-Palaepharsalus-Pharsalus route, which as Morgan avers, was also the route Pompey used in his advance from Larissa in 48 BC.
It is curious that even today the modern road does not go all the way to Larissa, petering out well before it gets there at Zappio, some 20 km south of Larissa. A dirt track carries on for another 5 km to the village of Nees Karies, but beyond that nothing whatever. Perhaps the rather low-lying, flat area to the south of Larissa, which today is farmland, was marshy or swampland in antiquity, subsequently drained ?( an old river course meanders through the area). Or else there is some other explanation as to why such a route for the main route north-south was impractical......
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
The name of the "feature" is consistent in the Greek sources. The major accounts all utilise the plural (κεφαλὰς) rather than the singular (κεφαλή):.......
Polybios consistently describes the "feature" as being hills (plural), having Philip send a force to occupy "the summit of the intervening hills" (20.10) for example. Putarch, too, is consistent in describing this as a set of hills. Livy also renders the name as Kynoskephalai and describes it as hills (tumulos - accusative plural). The evidence is that Kynoskephalai is as described: a set of hills, close to one another, protruding into the plain (of the Enipeus) rather than a single hill of whichever breadth.
This is very selective, leaving out much of the evidence, and I addressed this question in my post of Sunday March 29 above. The use of the plural stems only from Polybius, drawn on by Livy and Plutarch. It is possible that Polybius thought the whole range now called Karadag was called “Kynoskephalae”, and indeed several modern maps show this interpretation [ e.g. the maps attached to my post of March 23].It is also possible that the dog-head shaped feature at the end of the range gave its name to the adjacent hills. Nevertheless, it is clear from all the narratives including Polybius that the actual battle took place on a single feature { see my post above], and it is difficult to ignore our only contemporary reference, the poet Alcaeus, who speaks of the ‘ridge/nwton’[singular]. That, I would suggest, is reasonably conclusive.

Paralus, of course, has a vested interest in such an interpretation as he followed Hammond ( with a slight variation) in his excellently written article in “Ancient Warfare” magazine, which I recommend – despite the fact that I don’t agree Hammond’s battle location ( or various other details in Paralus' account!) :wink:
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Paralus wrote
The road via Krene and that via Pherae are unarguably the main routes from southern Thessaly north and vice versa.
It would appear we are agreed well enough on that, at least !
Both the battle of 364 and that of 197 were fought at the same place (or very near enough). While it is a possibility that Philip thought only of blocking each of these routes, no such imperative existed for either Pelopidas or Alexander of Pherai in 364. Alexander marches west from Pherai to meet Pelopidas who marches from Pharsalos to meet him. There is no tactical imperative to block an ingress to Macedonia for either combatant or for either to be ustilising such a pass north. Nor does there seem to be any requirement for either to occupy the hill above Krene - particularly Pelopidas marching from Pharsalos.
I don’t understand what point you are trying to make here – the strategic imperatives ( not tactical) of 364 B.C are obviously not the same as 197 B.C., or for that matter 48 B.C. when Caesar defeated Pompey in this same vicinity. Nor does the battle site in 364, which involved Pelopidas leading the forces of Pharsalus against those of Alexander of Pherae – a purely Thessalian affair not involving Macedon - have anything in common with that of 197, other than at each battle both sides sought to seize the high ground. Pelopidas and Alexander of Pherae were simply seeking to confront each other, so of course Pelopidas was not looking to occupy a strategic feature.The armies meet in the plain at the Thetideion, and the battle was seemingly fought on a north-south axis rather than the east-west axis of 197. Both Pelopidas and Alexander sought to seize the foothills/heights which dominate the plain ( the ground of tactical importance – being uphill against a lower opponent was an advantage). It is even possible that if it was the whole area that was known as Kynoskephalae [plural], that the battle of 364 took place at a slightly different location to that of 197. But it is the battle of 197 that we are here concerned with, and when all the criteria are considered, the site I have suggested fits best for that battle.

Paralus wrote:
I do not believe that Philip was only fighting a defensive action; that he meant to block access into Macedonia by plugging these passes. He could not continue such with any hope of a positive outcome. He had watched as the Romans had detached former allies and realised that he needed to act. He may well have dreamed of emulating his famous namesake until it became obvious he could not move past Pherai. He moved west towards Skotoussa and was in search of ground suitable to his forces. That Flamininus followed afterwards is surely indicated by his having only reached Pthiotic Eretrea on the first day. Philip wanted decent ground to the west and I believe that to be in the Enipeus plain a touch west of modern Vamvakou. Here he would roll the dice on a decisive battle. If he won he'd dictate terms to the Romanising Greeks and likely win back allies. It is the Hellenistic commanders' outlook. That the Romans might send another army is likely. Just as likely is that Rome would send another consul to command the Roman forces in Greece after Flamininus' term expired.

The "strategic triangle" is seductive. For all that, Philip assembled and drilled an army which I believe he intended to use in defeating the Roman consul rather than in a stalling game of blocking routes into Macedonia.
This suggestion opens a Pandora’s box of Strategic and Tactical considerations, and simply does not fit the evidence! Paralus simply follows Walbank and Hammond, who in turn blindly accept Polybius’ faulty rationalisation of how the armies came to move west. Firstly, consider Philip’s strategy in the First Macedonian War ( 217-205 BC). A young Philip [he was around 20] allied himself to Hannibal, and opportunistically sought to expand westward into Illyria at the expense of Rome and its allies while they fought their life-and-death struggle with Hannibal. In this he was urged on by the exiled Illyrian Demetrius of Pharos, who hoped to regain his possessions. By 208 Philip was at bay, and fought on the strategic defensive. In this he was successful, and Rome agreed “an honourable draw” by the Peace of Phoinike. Philip got to keep his Illyrian conquests and in return tacitly abandoned his ‘alliance’ with Hannibal, an easy concession since he had not really helped him in any significant way.

In the Second Macedonian War, Philip well knew he could not match the power of Rome, and again stood on the strategic defensive – as both Walbank and Hammond acknowledge. (As a famous Australian advertisement put it; "When you're on a good thing, stick to it!") In this he was successful in repelling Roman attacks from Illyria for two years, as related above. .Philip also sought peace in November 198, offering to give up all his territorial gains, except his ancestral lands, and thus leave Greece ‘free’, for Macedon was very war weary after decades of war. A tame peace treaty obviously did not suit Flamininus, who had glory and a Triumph in mind. He made impossible demands so that negotiations broke down.

Philip resumed his defensive strategy in 197 against Flamininus, as his earlier creating of a ‘moat’ by the devastation of the Enipeus valley demonstrates. Then there is the fact that Philip left a number of large garrisons as ‘bastions’ defending the major routes and passes. Many thousands of seasoned Macedonian troops were tied up by this. [ The garrison of Atrax, for example, consisted of experienced Macedonian phalangites who successfully defended a breach in the walls with their sarissas against Roman assaults]. Philip recruited under age boys and aged veterans to fill the ranks of the field army. Hardly the actions of a King seeking a ‘decisive battle’ - as Hammond noted. The defection of Greek allies was neither here nor there- once the Romans went home, he could easily re-impose his authority over Greece.

If Philip had wished to adopt an offensive strategy, he had ample opportunity and plenty of time to advance via one of the passes from Larissa into southern Thessaly, but did not. Instead, when he heard the news that the Romans had left Elatea in Phocis, he advanced no further than Larissa, and continued to wait, until he learnt that the Roman Army and its allies had arrived and were encamped “round Thebes” [Livy XXXIII.3 –XXXIII.6]. Then he rushed to block the Pherae gap, arriving “in good time”. [Polyb. XVIII.19.4.]. Again Walbank and Hammond agree Philip was acting defensively, as is obvious. So far, Philip had done nothing whatever offensive – for instance he could have awaited Flamininus in the plains around Larissa, ground eminently suitable for the phalanx, but did not. Moreover his lack of success in battle with the Romans the previous year will hardly have encouraged him to seek a ‘decisive battle’. It was Flamininus who confidently sought this, even going as far as to try and encourage Philip to fight by repatriating thousands of Macedonian POW’s back to Philip for a relatively cheap ransom (sans arms, of course).

Now we come to the tactical situation. The Romans could not force the Pherae pass with Philip ‘in situ’, and had several hostile garrisons in their rear. It was they who needed to ‘do something’ to break the deadlock. Philip needed only to wait, a completely risk free tactic. If he had desired a ‘decisive battle’ with his less than maximum strength army, he had only to withdraw to a suitable place back up his communications route/supply line to Larissa, tempting Flamininus to advance and fight, but he didn’t do this either. He was far too sensible to seek a ‘decisive battle’, recognising that the best chance for a successful conclusion to the war was to simply hold out until the Romans would be happy to agree another ‘Peace of Phoinike’.

As I related above, Polybius did not know which army initiated the move west:
Polybius does not in fact say that Philip headed west first, but rather that Flamininus “put his army in motion at the same time.” i.e. they set off simultaneously. True, he says Philip headed west to Scotussa to procure supplies, and that Flamininus intended to destroy the crops in the area of Scotussa before Philip could get there. This however is Polybius ‘rationalising’ the move west, and incidently once again showing a lack of military knowledge and understanding, and he must be wrong.
In the alternative, if we wish to think Polybius did know the truth, then he was disingenuously suggesting that Flamininus ‘pursued’ Philip rather than vice versa, which would sound better to Roman ears, but I think he guessed – and guessed wrongly –the sequence of events, and came up with his rationalisation. It simply makes no sense for Philip to head west, uncovering the Pherae pass, for Flamininus would have simply marched through, as he originally intended, and force Philip to turn at bay and fight and we would have had a 'Battle of Scotussa’, not Cynoscephalae. Alternately Flamininus could have captured an undefended Larissa, just a day’s march north, with a defenceless Macedon beyond to the north and Philip uselessly cut off in southern Thessaly !!

It must be certain then that the Romans headed off to try their luck at the western pass, covered by the Macedonians to the north of the Karadag range, since they couldn’t afford to leave Pherae otherwise.

In conclusion, Philip undoubtedly took the strategic defensive, as all commentators agree ( including Polybius) right up until Pherae. That he then hared off west to debouch through the western pass, to seek a ‘suitable battle field’, especially when there were plenty near at hand, for a ‘decisive battle’, abandoning his supply lines and leaving his base at Larissa defenceless, and the road to Macedon wide open, simply beggars belief. Far more likely that he followed the Romans west, intending to block them at Palaepharsalus as he had at Pherae. Unfortunately for Philip, fate led him reluctantly into a ‘decisive battle’ he was certainly not seeking, in which the Macedonians seemed at first to have all the advantages, but fate can be fickle and the war ended at a stroke, in Roman victory.

Paralus’ suggestion makes no military sense, for almost certain defeat would have followed such a course ( as Philip knew, and Cynoscephalae proved) and worse still the evidence is all against it. Such a course of action was tantamount to military suicide. It is a lucky thing that a militarily competent Philip commanded the Macedonians, and chose a strategy which offered reasonable prospects in the circumstances, and not Paralus !!
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Paralus »

A ridge possessing several high points along its length is still a ridge. Modern Pharsalos is positioned at the foot of such an example as is the West Point location (and several other sites throughout the Karadag Range). Thus the sources in describing Kynoskephalai as the tops of hills that lie close to each other can easily be describing such a ridge and the Macedonian troops are correctly described as ascending such a ridge.

Had Polybios provided Plutarch's information for the battle of 364 we might venture to suggest that he is the root of all such descriptions. Polybios is most unlikely to have been the source of Plutarch's description of this battle though as Pelopidas is well outside the the remit of his work. That source described the battle in some detail which Plutarch has summarised. Plutarch's entire narrative, describing a multi-phase battle for the "hills" of Kynoskephalai, is written in the plural ("occupy these"; "possession of the hills"; "fighting on the hills"; "lofty places"; etc.). Whoever was the source for the battle in Plutarch's Pelopidas considered Kynoskephalai a set of hills which jut out into the plain; not a single hill.
Xenophon wrote:Paralus, of course, has a vested interest in such an interpretation as he followed Hammond ( with a slight variation) in his excellently written article in “Ancient Warfare” magazine, which I recommend – despite the fact that I don’t agree Hammond’s battle location ( or various other details in Paralus' account!) :wink:
The recommendation is appreciated. On the matter of 'vested interest', that applies no less to an interpretation in the singular when one posits a single hill (or "feature").
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Xenophon wrote:The armies meet in the plain at the Thetideion, and the battle was seemingly fought on a north-south axis rather than the east-west axis of 197. Both Pelopidas and Alexander sought to seize the foothills/heights which dominate the plain ( the ground of tactical importance – being uphill against a lower opponent was an advantage). It is even possible that if it was the whole area that was known as Kynoskephalae [plural], that the battle of 364 took place at a slightly different location to that of 197. But it is the battle of 197 that we are here concerned with, and when all the criteria are considered, the site I have suggested fits best for that battle.
It is clear that the two battles took place on the same site. The 'Thetedeion', where the two armies met, was the same 'Thetedeion' of Flamininus' camp location. The hills are those of Kynoskephalai as Plutarch describes - just as they were in 197. Thus the battle of 364 is absolutely relevant to locating the battle of 197. The question is, why did both combatants march to the western tip of the Karadag Range when the Thebans were coming to the aid of Phthiotis and Magnesia which are east of Pharsalos?
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Efstathios wrote:Ok, after doing some research, i saw the proposed site by Hammond, which has rather flat hills. Of course taking into account that even small hills could be rough for battle, it may be the site. However none of these hills are high or even remotely similar to dog heads. Thus the name must have another origin, unless that's not the site. I don't know why locals call Mavrovouni the site for KynosKephalae, but it seems to fit the description, though a battle there would have been a lot harder.
The site I showed just east of Krini/Palaepharsalus is also called 'Kynoskephalae' by locals, and I believe also in at least one news report, so I don't think one can simply go by name. Any proposed site must meet the criteria in our sources and set out in my initial post, and I'm afraid this site and the West Point map site too falls down on that score, so I must agree with Paralus that these cannot be correct, not least because they are way too far north.

Unfortunately the site Paralus proposes fails on the same criteria. His map reading skills leave a lot to be desired!

He is also being rather disingenuous in blaming file size for the tiny size of his Google Earth images, it is perfectly possible to show his chosen battlefield. Indeed I have privately sent him images of the area in question.

Paralus wrote:
My battle line runs along the ridge just east of Kremaste (near where the modern road swings south west onto the Kremaste spur) across to the hill just east of the modern highway.
Attached is the Google Earth image of this, with Hammond's locations also marked. The red line shows Paralus' proposed initial deployment line, and incorporates his yellow place mark, which is some 3.6 km from Kremaste. In fact, Paralus chosen deployment, 8 deep in 'open' order, 6ft intervals, would be 2.3 km long. Other yellow place marks show Hammond's features referred to in his article, and the spurs down which he placed the battle. See previous posts for why this cannot be the correct location. The same objections (plus a few more) apply to Paralus' location.

The second image shows Paralus' deployment looking west toward Kremaste, on the horizon from ground level, where it crosses the road. The red line again marks Paralus' deployment line. Where is the ridge? Where the "rough and broken ground"? [ just smooth ploughed fields] Does this location "attain a considerable height" over the surrounding terrain?

The third image is the deployment line looking East ( the shadow is the Google camera truck ! ) No sign of any rough and broken ground in the last two images, unless one thinks a ploughed field counts. ( which would have been pasture then )
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Paralus initial deployment line taken from his map some 3.6 km or more long.jpg
Paralus initial deployment line taken from his map some 3.6 km or more long.jpg (102.56 KiB) Viewed 5771 times
Paralus' initial deployment line looking west toward Kremaste 3.6 km away on the horizon.jpg
Paralus' initial deployment line looking west toward Kremaste 3.6 km away on the horizon.jpg (86.93 KiB) Viewed 5771 times
Paralus' deployment line looking east toward his left flank.jpg
Paralus' deployment line looking east toward his left flank.jpg (98.93 KiB) Viewed 5771 times
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote:Unfortunately the site Paralus proposes fails on the same criteria. His map reading skills leave a lot to be desired!
Really. This rubbish is quite unnecessary. Those attached files are all in the vicinity of 250kb which appears to be about the size limit for such. I attempted to load larger views to no avail. Nothing 'disingenuous at all.

I had hopes this thread might be a little different. So much for that.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Finally, one last image from the same location at ground level, this time looking south toward the initial Roman deployment, which was on the plain just outside their camp. The Roman deployment is over 3km away, out of sight beyond the spur running right to left in the second image in my previous post. To try to get round this problem, Hammond brought the Roman camp and the Thetideion north from the plain and up into the hills, around hill 260 ( see first image previous post ), and Philip's deployment forward from the ridge line at hill 362 to Kremaste - which is still some 2 km away. The Roman camp, the fighting near it that Philip could see from the ridge line - behind Kremaste at hill 362 in Hammond's version - are out of sight, even on a clear day, let alone a misty morning ! ( the mist wouldn't have 'instantly' cleared).

Paralus' site meets none of the criteria, and hence cannot be correct either.

@ Paralus:
Since you had the images I sent you, there was no reason you could not have posted them - as you can see I have had no problems posting multiple images of your proposed battle site. Also, my comment about your map-reading skills is self evidently true to anyone looking at those images, and in any case was meant in fun. Rather like the occasional fun poked at your arithmetical skills at times..... :)

The Google shaded maps are impressions only, and don't show proper topographical height information - they are basically just road maps

Incidently, it is possible to get to Larissa via the modern road. One turns hard right at Zappio, and proceeds via Nees Karies, turning hard right again to the east, via Nikaia and thence to Larissa, a rather circuitous route swinging to the east.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

...And just to put the question of single feature, or multiple hills to bed, my suggested location fits both scenarios !

The first image shows a ground level view of 'the ridge' from the North - Philip's side, and is clearly a single feature.

The third image is from ground level to the south or Roman side and clearly shows several hills/summits !!

The second middle image shows the feature from above. The 'dog-head' skull dome is at the top ( east), with Philip's initial deployment in red, and his second 'closed up' deployment in magenta extending down the dog 'muzzle' toward the bottom (west) and Krini.....

Incidently, as can be plainly seen, Paralus' location doesn't remotely fit Plutarch's description of the battle of 364 BC, whereas a look at the position from the south matches Plutarch's description perfectly "steep and lofty hills jutting into the plain", which Alexander got possession of first. The armies were likely formed up on a north-south axis, Pelopidas to the left and Alexander to the right, initially in the plain. The hills in the photo would be on Pelopidas' left flank, and Alexander's right. It was when Pelopidas exhorted his infantry to finally take the hills, and then saw Alexander marshalling his mercenaries on his right wing, that he rushed forward in a battle-rage and was killed, apparently in the plain, for his men, who had just driven Alexander's troops off the hills rushed down from the hills in a vain attempt to save him......
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Kynoskephale position from north Philips side.jpg
Kynoskephale position from north Philips side.jpg (57.73 KiB) Viewed 5768 times
overhead view of suggested Krini site with Philip's second deployment closed up magenta line extended down dog muzzle with skull at top.jpg
overhead view of suggested Krini site with Philip's second deployment closed up magenta line extended down dog muzzle with skull at top.jpg (106.48 KiB) Viewed 5768 times
Xenophon's Kynoskephalae location from the south ( Roman) position showing multiple 'summits' and 'hills'.jpg
Xenophon's Kynoskephalae location from the south ( Roman) position showing multiple 'summits' and 'hills'.jpg (105.59 KiB) Viewed 5768 times
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Paralus »

My mistake in quotation. The actual quote was to have been:
Xenophon wrote:He is also being rather disingenuous in blaming file size for the tiny size of his Google Earth images, it is perfectly possible to show his chosen battlefield. Indeed I have privately sent him images of the area in question.
Hence my "nothing disingenuous" remark. You might think what you want of my supposedly poor map reading skills but to claim that I was being deliberately less than candid by loading "tiny" images instead of something larger is unsupportable rubbish. As I wrote, they give the reader a clear indicator of where to look for themselves if the shots are not large enough. I wanted topographic shots to show the lie of the land (as specific spots can be more difficult to pick out in Earth) and the file size limitation (of some250kb) precluded bigger.

The battle line is some 2,038 metres long; not 3.6km. I could post a closer view of the battle line from the "campaign" GE but what's the point? Evidence contrary to your site will not be countenanced: the battle of 364 does not "have anything in common with that of 197" (except of course the rather obvious matter of the same site!); Polybios does not understand strategy and is confused about the name and the location; Google "terrain" maps are only 'road maps' and seemingly inadmissible and I am "disingenuous". It is a lucky thing that a militarily and historically competent Xenophon commands this thread, and not Polybios, Plutarch or Descourt !!

I believe it best to leave you to your thread. Enjoy.
Last edited by Paralus on Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by sean_m »

Xenophon wrote:Paralus wrote:
The name of the "feature" is consistent in the Greek sources. The major accounts all utilise the plural (κεφαλὰς) rather than the singular (κεφαλή):.......
Polybios consistently describes the "feature" as being hills (plural), having Philip send a force to occupy "the summit of the intervening hills" (20.10) for example. Putarch, too, is consistent in describing this as a set of hills. Livy also renders the name as Kynoskephalai and describes it as hills (tumulos - accusative plural). The evidence is that Kynoskephalai is as described: a set of hills, close to one another, protruding into the plain (of the Enipeus) rather than a single hill of whichever breadth.
This is very selective, leaving out much of the evidence, and I addressed this question in my post of Sunday March 29 above.
Does it? The Latin and Greek manuscripts which name the battle seem to agree on a plural. Even if one accepted that features are more likely to be given singular than plural names (and names like the Three Sisters and the Nine Ways mean that I am not sure of that), that is irrelevant because all our sources agree that this particular feature had a plural name. A natural 18 does not come up very often on three dice, but if I throw one you can hardly declare that it must have really been some other number because that particular one only comes up one time in 216!

Now descriptions of the battle do often use singular nouns. But Alcaeus is writing in verse, and Greek verse is loose about number because the metre compels it. All of the descriptions whether prose or verse seem to give not names but descriptions of the movements of particular bodies of troops. One can certainly march up a ridge, singular, to the crest of a ridge, singular, between peaks, plural, with a plural name.

All in all, I think that any serious proposal has to show that a particular location had some feature which could have been called the Dogs' Heads in antiquity.
Xenophon wrote:Paralus, of course, has a vested interest in such an interpretation as he followed Hammond ( with a slight variation) in his excellently written article in “Ancient Warfare” magazine ...
That may or may not be true, but such ad hominum attacks do not belong in scholarly conversation. Ideas can stand or fall on their own merits.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

Livy XXXII.14 would seem to militate against Morgan's identification of Krini with Palaipharsalos. Here Livy, probably following Polybios, gives the cities razed by Philip's scorched earth march of 198, Phacium. Iresiae, Euhydrium, Eretria, Palaipharsalos and then Pherae which was not attacked. Clearly Palaipharsalos was at the eastern end of the Enipeus valley. Morgan is quite disingenuous concerning this as he mentions the passage to support the fact that Palaipharsalos was not the citidel of Pharsalos itself, but never gives this itinerary. Ooops!

For the route of the later Roman road from Larissa to Thaumakos see, Descourt and Motta 'Voies et Milliares Romain de Thessalie', every early nineteenth century traveller used the supposedly circuitous direct route from Pharsalos to Larissa, which is, nonetheless shorter than the route via Krannon.

You may not agree with Descourt but I noticed no argument against, nor indeed reference to any mis-locations, other than the implied disagreement over Palaipharsalos, just a sweeping statement.

Throughout, Morgan works on the assumption that late Republican Romans fought on an individual frontage of six-feet, twice that we are assuming for their mid Republican compatriots (although it is what Polybios says), making his objections to sites on the basis of length of the acies somewhat fraught.

I have had similar problems to Paralus with file size, even for ordinary maps, possibly a site glitch. :x
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