The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

These are a couple of the nineteenth century accounts

https://archive.org/stream/classicaltop ... 8/mode/2up
Edward Dodwell’s, ‘A Classical and Topographical Tour through Greece during the years 1801, 1805 and 1806’ published 1819 p118f
We accordingly quitted Ampelakia on the 6th, and went to the left of our former road, keeping the village of Baba on our right. Having passed over the barren foot of Ossa, we crossed several small streams which issue from it, and observed some verdant spots, where the refreshing waters of the fountain sparkled beneath the cooling shade of the platanus. Larissa appeared upon our right. During the hottest part of the day we reposed at the village of Nikali, from which we took a view of the Thessalian plain and capital, and inspected the costumes of the peasantry,wit there implements of husbandry. This place is five hours and a quarter from Ampelekia. In the afternoon we proceeded two hours and thirty-eight minutes further to the Turkish village of Enebelere, where we passed the night.
The next morning, the 7th, we continued our journey, crossed a bridge over a small stream and went by the foot of an insulated hill with a small marsh, and a few mulberry trees near its base. These were the first trees we had seen for several miles; the greater part of the plain on this side of Larissa offers no objects either picturesque or interesting. It is generally rich in corn. The uncultivated parts are covered with thistles.
We passed by a fountain and observed on our right a village named Sarliki. An hour and forty minutes beyond which we passed near a large Turkish burying-ground, and a village called Karademelki. About an hour from this place we had the first view of Pharsalia and its memorable plain, which is in a manner separated from the great plain of Larissa by some low ridges and undulating hills. We passed by some villages and fountains, and crossed a large bridge of several arches over a river which is probably the Onchestos. Forty minutes further we crossed a bridge over another river of smaller size, probably the Enipeus or Apidanos, which unite their streams before they enter the Peneios.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ul0G ... &q&f=false
Henry Holland, ‘Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia,etc.’ 1812 p365
At an early hour on the morning of the 20th, we recommenced our journey; and, crossed the stream of the ancient Apidanos, traversed the plains towards larissa, at which place we arrived six hours after quitting Tzatalze [Pharsalos]. Nothing worthy of notice occurred on the route, except a splendid view of Olympus, seen from one point rising immediately over the mosques and minarets of Larissa , and so deeply covered with snow that no part of is surface was left exposed above the mountains that rise at its feet.
This can only happen from the direct route Pharsalos-Larissa. It would seem that Agesilaos also marched his army this way in 395, so it has an ancient pedigree. Morgan's objection that one could not march an army of 70,000 by this way, which he calls country tracks, when it is a flat plain is given the lie in that in 1897 the Turks marched just such an army explicitly by this route upon Farsala in the Thirty Day's War.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

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.
And that is the problem, that none of these hills look like dogs heads. Unless they had a different shape at that time, which is possible. One can see the changes of scenery in Thermopylae and Marathon, but that was mainly due to the sea. Of course, KynosKephalae were not near the sea, so one would have to research how the scenery changes in plains. And there is also another problem here, which is the question of how tall were the hills and how rough. Cause if we are talking about hills like the ones Hammond identified, not that tall and rather flat, then i don't see how their shape can resemble dogs heads. It could be some other hills that had that name nearby, or the name is not a reference to the shape.

And by the way, Sean is correct, it is plural.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

sean_m wrote:
Xenophon wrote: 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.
I don’t think “agree on a plural” is entirely accurate. Polybius is our main source for the battle of 197. He speaks of both plural and singular, as referred to in my post of mar 29. Livy, Plutarch and Strabo all rely on him as their main source and follow his usage. Our other sources, Zonaros and the contemporary Alcaeus speak of ‘Dog-head /kynoskephale’[singular] and ‘ridge’[singular]. I’ll come back to this below. Nor is ‘dogs-heads’[plural] the correct translation, as Agesilaos pointed out a few posts ago. ‘Kynos[dog-singular]-kephalae[heads-plural] is more correctly a single dog with multiple heads ( like Cerberus?)
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!
I suggest the vast majority of features, though not all, have singular names ( another plural example that springs to mind is ‘Twin Peaks’ :lol: ) and “all our sources” certainly don’t agree a plural name ( see my post Mar 29 and above). Nor did I rely on this as ‘proof’ that the singular was more likely in this instance. To pursue your analogy, one certainly can’t say a throw can’t be an 18, and I didn’t, but one can say that at 1 in 216 (0.5%) the odds are against it, and it is unlikely !
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.
I am no expert in Greek, still less in Greek poetry, but my understanding is the plural is used as often for metrical convenience as the singular in Greek poetry ( see e.g. Horace Jones work). Moreover the plural of ‘nwtn’/ridge/back is ‘nwta’/ridges, which would not break metrical convenience in the slightest if Alcaeus had wanted to use plural. I don’t therefore think this argument is valid.
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.
That is certainly true, but then those particular troops are located on a ridge[singular] or crest of a ridge[singular]. If an author wants to locate them on peaks[plural], they would have to use the plural word ( as Plutarch uses ‘hills’ describing the battle of 364 BC - see photo above)
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.
Well, that isn’t necessarily so – there would seem to be several possibilities; That ‘Kynoskephalae’/dog-heads[one dog several heads] was the name; that ‘kynoskephale’/dog head[singular] was the name – and the evidence for these two possibilities seems balanced (Polybius, Plutarch ‘Pelopidas’ for the first and Zonaras, and critically because it is contemporaneous, Alcaeus for the second). The third possibility is that both are correct – just variations on the same name, especially as it depends on just where you are looking at the feature from.. If you look at the photos I posted on Monday April 6 above, one can see that all three possibilities apply to this site, including Plutarch’s independent description fro the battle of 364 B.C.

One can also readily see that it also meets Sean’s requirement. Fortunately, we need not quibble over the minor details of the exact form of name which is in any event but one minor criteria of many (see initial post).This site meets them all.
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.
I find that comment surprising, since mine praises Paralus – certainly he, always quick to respond to any perceived slight – did not take it that way, and I don’t see it as ‘ad hominem’ to point out where Paralus’ position was coming from – defending his own published work, derived in turn from Hammond’s work, which as I pointed out earlier, is an essential starting point in considering this subject.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

Ἄκλαυστοι καὶ ἄθαπτοι ὁδοιπόρε τῷδ' ἐπὶ νώτῳ
Θεσσαλίης τρισσαὶ κείμεθα μυριάδες,
Plutarch Flam 9

nO-tO-i three syllables, long-long short, singular masc dative/ nO-tois, two syllables long-long (the first by nature the second by convention, masc plural dative.

So there is, indeed, a difference but the distinction is artificial, the battle took place on one of the eminences in a series of heights which were called Kynoskephalai by all the sources including Zonaros, whose terminal ‘e’ is an artefact of the monopthongisation of dipthongs, which had been working in Greek from at least the 6th century BC, and had reached its final stages by the time Zonaros was writing in the twelfth century AD, as mentioned above.

No force can be placed on the number in descriptions of heights, as is clear from Morgan’s description of Caesar’s usages in De Bello Civile and De Bello Gallico, that is Latin this is Greek but the attitudes were the same.

edited to better emphasise the omegas
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
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!
“Seem” is the operative word here. There is no evidence whatever that Livy gave the names of the cities as an itinerary from west to east – that is pure unsupported assumption on the part of some. For a start Palaepharsalus cannot possibly be at the east end of the Enipeus valley, for Caesar most assuredly did not fight Pompey there! The locations of the cities have been the subject of speculation since the first archaeologists went there, from Leake in 1837 down to Decourt – and there are as many locations as there are scholars, with differences between English groups, and their rival French and German counterparts! A brief summary of various scholars speculations can be found in “The battlefield of old Pharsalus” ( i.e. Palaepharsalus) by T. Rice Holmes, that most eminent Caesarian scholar [available on JSTOR]. The problem then and now is that it is hard to identify with certainty what a place is from a pile of stones and anonymous pottery sherds – unless you are fortunate enough to come across an inscription which names a place, obviously a very rare occurrence. Morgan doesn’t give Livy’s supposed itinerary precisely because it is demonstrably NOT an itinerary, simply a list of the cities. Livy’s list therefore is no help at all, because we don’t know the locations of the cities with any certainty to this day , as Morgan knew.
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.


“Every” 19 C traveller? Or just a few tourists travelling a tourist route? I’ll comment further below on this aspect. More Decourt ? ( not Descourt, for those foolish enough to want to follow up).Is this some subtle form of torture you are trying to inflict on me ? :lol:
I’m not going to waste any more time reading boring travelogues in French containing unsupported speculations, especially as there are plenty of other scholars with different views, e.g Morgan’s comments on various crossing points of the Enipeus [ p.52 of his paper] and the concrete evidence of the two itinerariums versus Decourt, who offers no evidence at all for just where the Roman road crossed the Enipeus, and who ignores the itinerariums stating the road passed through Crannon.
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.
.

Well, I’ve just given you one, but more to the point, debating Decourt’s locations is just a massive red herring – the only one of relevance is the location of Palaepharsalus, and Decourt is undoubtedly wrong, and Morgan conclusively right, as Hammond agreed. You introduced Decourt purely as an attempt to counter Morgan regarding the location of Palaepharsalus, nothing else, if you recall. So let us bid Monsieur Decourt Adieu.
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 think you’ll find Morgan is quite correct – the legions throughout their history operated in ‘open order’ of 6 ft per man, and ‘close order’ of 3 ft per man just like the Greeks and Macedonians and Hellenistic armies and many others. ( though their organisation was rank based rather than file based). As Morgan ( p.27) says this sort of frontage is demonstrated by Caesar BC.I.42.2-4, so his frontage is not an “assumption”. Have you read Morgan in full ?

Agesilaos wrote Tue 7 April:
These are a couple of the nineteenth century accounts....... This can only happen from the direct route Pharsalos-Larissa.
Of what relevance are these? That there was such a route in the 19C has been accepted. These tourists seem to have travelled on horseback, judging by the times they take. None of the accounts mention roads, still less roads suitable for heavy wagons, a feature which would have surely drawn comment.
It would seem that Agesilaos also marched his army this way in 395, so it has an ancient pedigree. Morgan's objection that one could not march an army of 70,000 by this way, which he calls country tracks, when it is a flat plain is given the lie in that in 1897 the Turks marched just such an army explicitly by this route upon Farsala in the Thirty Day's War.
I don’t recall any evidence from Xenophon’s 'Hellenica' or 'Agesilao's , or Plutarch’s ‘Agesilaos' that supports that proposition. Do you have a reference, or any evidence for that assertion? IIRC, King Agesilaos travelled up the east coast, and thence by ship to Asia both coming and going, and I’m too tired at the moment to look it up.....

Your assertion about the Thessalian part of the Graeco-Turkish war of 1897 is also incorrect, I believe. The campaign was predicated on the railway routes, which both sides used to transport troops. The one route ran from Larissa toward the Pherae gap, via the rail junction at Velestino and on to the port of Volos, and the other toward the Palepharsalus route. Each route ran slightly to the west of the ancient routes shown on my maps, approximately. Again, as far as I recall, no armies and no fighting occurred along the direct Lariss-Pharsalus north-south route, and neither Army used it.

As I expected, you cannot come up with any convincing evidence that the north-south direct route was anything other than a track at best prior to the 19 C, (even if you have some solid evidence regarding King Agesilaos in 396/395, which I doubt).

In any event, this is just pure argumentation, and I weary of it. I believe I have been quite patient in that regard. If you have a proposed site that you believe meets the source criteria, then by all means let us move on, and discuss it.

edited to add reference
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

agesilaos wrote:
Ἄκλαυστοι καὶ ἄθαπτοι ὁδοιπόρε τῷδ' ἐπὶ νώτῳ
Θεσσαλίης τρισσαὶ κείμεθα μυριάδες,
Plutarch Flam 9

nO-tO-i three syllables, long-long short, singular masc dative/ nO-tois, two syllables long-long (the first by nature the second by convention, masc plural dative.

So there is, indeed, a difference but the distinction is artificial, the battle took place on one of the eminences in a series of heights which were called Kynoskephalai by all the sources including Zonaros, whose terminal ‘e’ is an artefact of the monopthongisation of dipthongs, which had been working in Greek from at least the 6th century BC, and had reached its final stages by the time Zonaros was writing in the twelfth century AD, as mentioned above.

No force can be placed on the number in descriptions of heights, as is clear from Morgan’s description of Caesar’s usages in De Bello Civile and De Bello Gallico, that is Latin this is Greek but the attitudes were the same.

edited to better emphasise the omegas
Yes, very interesting I'm sure, but I have always understood that no-one can be sure of just how ancient Greek ( or latin for that matter) was pronounced ? Moreover local dialects, accents etc ( like the known differences between Doric and Ionic, with Macedonian Greek different again) mean that this is unknowable. [ despite the placing of the modern accent over the first 'w'.]

To Alcaeus, 'νῳ-τῳ' [singular ridge/back] and 'vw-ta'[plural ridges] could both have easily been two syllable words. After all, modern Shakespearean actors alter pronunciation and number of syllables to meet rhyme and metre.

In any case, I have pointed out that this is no objection whatsoever to the site I proposed, because kynoskephale/kynoskephalae is irrelevant since both fit that site ( see posts ante)
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

Well, let us look at the cities on the map you posted in order West to east they come, Phakion, Piresiai, Euhydrion, Eretria and Pherai, no Palaipharsalos since its site is uncertain, this is ‘demonstrably NOT an itinerary’.
Itinerary or not?
Itinerary or not?
phv.png (213.4 KiB) Viewed 7076 times
Sure looks like an itinerary to me. :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

There is no evidence whatever that Livy gave the names of the cities as an itinerary from west to east – that is pure unsupported assumption on the part of some. For a start Palaepharsalus cannot possibly be at the east end of the Enipeus valley, for Caesar most assuredly did not fight Pompey there! The locations of the cities have been the subject of speculation since the first archaeologists went there, from Leake in 1837 down to Decourt – and there are as many locations as there are scholars, with differences between English groups, and their rival French and German counterparts!
The map-maker's locations for these cities are as much a guess as any other scholar's, and they may or may not have been at those locations. Furthermore the mapmaker doesn't treat the list as an itinerary for precisely the reason I gave - Palaepharsalus cannot have been at the eastern/Pherae end of the Enipeus valley and it is not shown there, contra your assertion earlier that it was at the eastern end. In addition, the map-maker's locations alter Livy's sequence [XXXII.13.9], reading from west to east [P]iresiae, Phakium, Euhydrium, Eretria, [no Palaepharsalus], Pheras - two changes out of six in the alleged 'itinerary', actually probably just a list.

We cannot resolve the question of the locations of the 5 cities.
Our only interest is the location of Palaepharsalus, and its relationship to Cynoscephale.
One further point I meant to mention was the distances of the respective routes. Morgan [p.52] gives the distance taken from "The Blue Guide" of the modern/central route Larissa/Pharsalus as 28 3/4 English miles, or 31 Roman miles whilst the ancient highway route via Crannon and Palaepharsalus/Krini is 33 Roman miles - not much difference at all, and considering that Crannon was an important place in Hellenistic times and later Roman, it is no surprise that the main road/route would go that way.

Lastly, I meant to mention that even Decourt has the main western route from Larissa to Pharsalus go this way, even if his route bypasses Crannon [contra the itineraries] and crosses the Enipeus further west than Palaepharsalus/Krini.

It would appear therefore that not only is there no evidence for the central/modern route being the main Larissa/Pharsalus road in antiquity, there doesn't seem to be any modern support for this idea either.

edited for correction
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

I'd like to get back to the topic.

Apart from the terrain descriptions of the battle site, another important criterion is a tactical one. What was there about the Cynoscephalae position that made it important enough that both sides, independently of each other, sent out strong forces to climb the hills and seize the ridge? (In other words, the position was ground of considerable tactical importance).
After all, for several days, both sides had marched parallel to the Karadag range of mountains/hills, and neither had sent forces to the tops - probably because doing so would have slowed down their respective marches in their race to seize the pass first. Yet suddenly both armies are independently making a strenuous effort with considerable forces to capture the ridgeline.

Philip sent off a strong 'covering force' "with orders to occupy the summits of the hills that lay between him and the enemy."[Polyb VIII.20] despite the thick fog, so there was some urgency in what he was doing ( Incidently, Philip obviously knew where the Romans were. Both sides must have sent scouts up the hills from time to time - it would have been folly not to, especially for the Macedonians, in case the Romans 'doubled back' to the Pherae pass.)

Flamininus sent a strong force of 1,000 light troops and 300 cavalry. Polybius claims these were sent with orders to reconnoitre. Yet at Pherae both sides had used forces of just a few hundred cavalry and light infantry for this purpose. Now, forces many times larger were being used – too large for a mere reconnaissance force, especially in fog !! Both sides reinforced these forces. Philip sent reinforcements so that all his 2,000 cavalry and another 3,500 light troops (that is, all bar the 2,000 Thracians who customarily guarded the right flank of the phalanx) were committed. Flamininus committed another 500 cavalry and 2,000 light troops, mostly Aetolian, and ultimately the Hastati of the Legions of the left wing , some 2,400 or so heavy infantry. Possessing and holding the feature was obviously very important to both sides. Why? And why at that point in time?

We can see an obvious precedent by looking back at what happened at Pherae. As Philip approached the pass, he sent out his ‘advanced forces’ to seize the ridge above Pherae. Flamininus did the same, and an encounter almost took place at dusk. Because it was late in the day, both sides withdrew. Next day, both sides sent out cavalry and light infantry forces of a few hundred each, and they clashed on Philip’s side of the pass. Reinforcements were summoned and fierce skirmishing went on all day, with both sides retiring back to camp.[Polyb XVIII.19-20]. The day after, the race to the west began ( discussed previously here by Agesilaos and myself ).

We are seeing the same thing occur at the Cynoscephalae feature. Therefore the only plausible tactical reason for seizing this particular high ground must be that, as at Pherae, it dominated the pass, and the holder of it could prevent the other moving through it, especially the essential supply wagons. So the macedonians needed to hold this dominating ground to prevent further Roman advance, and the Romans needed to hold it to secure their route of advance.It was a necessary precursor to attempting to move through the pass. The reason for the timing must be that both sides expected to reach the pass that day.

Accordingly, any candidate for the battle site must meet this tactical criterion as well as the terrain description criteria. Pritchett’s proposed site at Mavrorrakhes, near Scotuusa meets neither. Even though Kromayer may have thought the pass in question was the central/modern route, his site is 4 km east of that road, and certainly doesn’t dominate it, and it too does not meet the terrain criteria – as Hammond’s article stated. Hammond’s site (including Paralus’) fails for the same reason – too far away from the Palaepharsalus/Krini road, which he recognises as the route of the pass, and doesn’t meet the terrain descriptions.

The obvious candidate is the large ridge and hills overlooking Palaepharsalus/Krini, which meets all criteria, tactical and physical.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by sean_m »

I will keep my reply short due to limited time and desire not to clutter the thread.
Xenophon wrote:
sean_m wrote:
Xenophon wrote: 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.
I don’t think “agree on a plural” is entirely accurate. Polybius is our main source for the battle of 197. He speaks of both plural and singular, as referred to in my post of mar 29. Livy, Plutarch and Strabo all rely on him as their main source and follow his usage. Our other sources, Zonaros and the contemporary Alcaeus speak of ‘Dog-head /kynoskephale’[singular] and ‘ridge’[singular]. I’ll come back to this below. Nor is ‘dogs-heads’[plural] the correct translation, as Agesilaos pointed out a few posts ago. ‘Kynos[dog-singular]-kephalae[heads-plural] is more correctly a single dog with multiple heads ( like Cerberus?)
All the ancient sources who name the hills seem to say kynos kephalai The only one who ends the name with eta rather than a plural ending is Zonaras thirteen hundred years of linguistic evolution later, and sources are weighed not counted. Both Plutarch and Strabo (and their ancient editors) were perfectly capable of changing the name to a singular if their other sources had disagreed with Polybius. If there are any experts on learned medieval Greek here I would be interested to hear their thoughts! Until then, Agesilaus' comment at Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:26 am describes the sort of changes which make this dangerous ground for amateurs to build an argument on.

It looks to me like the two poems quoted in Plutarch Flaminius 9 pretend to be inscriptions on monuments, as many other Hellenistic epigrams do. If this Alcaeus imagined his poem being written on a monument at a single point, that could be another reason why he used a singular. It is hard to have one grave marker stretching across λόφων ... πυκνῶν καὶ παραλλήλων ἄκραι λεπταὶ (Plut. Flam. 8.1) or οἱ γὰρ προειρημένοι λόφοι ... τραχεῖς δ' εἰσὶ καὶ περικεκλασμένοι καὶ πρὸς ὕψος ἱκανὸν ἀνατείνοντες (Polybius 18.22.9).

You are right about the dog in the name; Polybius 18.22.9 and Plutarch Flam. 8.2 and Strabo Geography 9.5.20/chapter 441 do say Κυνὸς κεφαλάς so he does seem to have thought of it as “the Dog's Heads.” Presumably each of the individual peaks which Polybius and Plutarch describe was called "the Dog's Head."
Xenophon wrote:
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.
I am no expert in Greek, still less in Greek poetry, but my understanding is the plural is used as often for metrical convenience as the singular in Greek poetry ( see e.g. Horace Jones work). Moreover the plural of ‘nwtn’/ridge/back is ‘nwta’/ridges, which would not break metrical convenience in the slightest if Alcaeus had wanted to use plural. I don’t therefore think this argument is valid.
I am certainly no expert either.

Yes, Greek poets can as easily use the plural for the singular as the singular for the plural, but my point was that the choice of a singular or plural in verse usually says more about the poem than the thing described. The first line of a Greek elegiac couplet normally ends in two long syllables (a spondee) and the singular νώτῳ fits the bill where the plural νώτοις gives a long-short-short dactyl as agesilaus has said. There are some points in verse where one can substitute two short syllables for a long, but in my limited knowledge of Greek metre I do not think that the end of a hexameter line is one of them.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by sean_m »

Efstathios wrote:
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.
And that is the problem, that none of these hills look like dogs heads. Unless they had a different shape at that time, which is possible. One can see the changes of scenery in Thermopylae and Marathon, but that was mainly due to the sea. Of course, KynosKephalae were not near the sea, so one would have to research how the scenery changes in plains. And there is also another problem here, which is the question of how tall were the hills and how rough. Cause if we are talking about hills like the ones Hammond identified, not that tall and rather flat, then i don't see how their shape can resemble dogs heads. It could be some other hills that had that name nearby, or the name is not a reference to the shape.

And by the way, Sean is correct, it is plural.
Hammond's idea that some of the little rises and falls in the ground can look like the head of a sheepdog as seen fron the side is interesting, and his photos look more promising than the ones in Google Earth, but none of the sites which I have seen impresses me as a good fit for the descriptions in the ancient sources. I have not read those sources or the modern arguments closely (doing so would take a few days), and it is absolutely possible that Polybius and especially Plutarch or Livy misunderstood some things. (For example, after the battle some in Macedon may have exaggerated the roughness of the ground to either excuse Philip for losing or blame him for choosing to fight on the wrong ground). Polybius wrote decades after the battle, and we only have part of his histories.

I agree that changes in the ground over 2200 years (erosion, quarrying, dynamiting, terrace-building) and our uncertainty about the name and location of ancient farms and temples make it hard to identify the site of an ancient battle. Archaeologists might find the remains of camps. Still, we have good texts of the main sources, we have more 19th century travellers' accounts and better maps than Pritchett or Kromayer or Hammond had, so it does not hurt to play around with different possibilities as long as we do not take ourselves too seriously.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

Of much more pertinence to the site of our battle is the site of Thetideion, as it was from here that Flamininus moved and cannot be far from the ridge from which Philip observed the action around the Roman camp. Thetideion was a village rather than just a rural shrine, Polybios says it was in the territory of Pharsalos, whereas Philip halted at Melambion in that of Skotussa, Polybios XVIII 20
Both armies, however, continued their march during this day, Flamininus to Eretria in Phthiotis, and Philip to the river Onchestus; and there they respectively pitched their camps. Next day they advanced again, and again encamped: Philip at Melambium in the territory of Scotusa, and Flamininus at the temple of Thetis in that of Pharsalus, being still ignorant of each other's whereabouts. A violent storm of rain and thunder coming on next day, the whole atmosphere descended from the clouds to the earth about the time of the morning watch, so that the darkness was too dense to see even those who were quite close. In spite of this, Philip was so eager to accomplish his object, that he started with his whole army; but finding himself much embarrassed on the march by the mist, after accomplishing a very small distance he again encamped; but he sent his reserve back, with instructions to halt upon the summit of the intervening hills.
Plutarch goes so far as to situate the battle itself in Skottussan territory, Titus Flamininus 7 iii
The two armies advanced against each other until they came into the neighbourhood of Scotussa, and there they proposed to decide the issue by battle
.

Krini, over 11 miles away and in the territory of Pharsalos clearly does not meet the requirements, whether one insists that it is Palaipharsalos (which is not mentioned with reference to 197BC) or not. I will post a translation of Decourt's explanation of the road by Krannon in due time, it will bve a good bit of displacement activity.

Xenophon Hellenika IV 3.iii, intimates that Agesilaos took the central, direct route from Larissa pased Pharsalos;
Then the Larisaeans, Crannonians, Scotussaeans, and Pharsalians, who were allies of the Boeotians, and in fact all the Thessalians except those of them who chanced at that time to be exiles, followed after him and kept molesting him.


The nations appear in in the order they would be encountered along the central route. Coupled with IV 3 viii-ix
But Polycharmus the Pharsalian, who was the commander of the cavalry, turned round and fell fighting, together with those about him. When this happened, there followed a headlong flight on the part of the Thessalians, so that some of them were killed and others were captured. At all events they did not stop until they had arrived at Mount Narthacium.[9] On that day, accordingly, Agesilaus set up a trophy between Pras and Narthacium and remained on the field of battle, greatly pleased with his exploit, in that he had been victorious, over the people who pride themselves particularly upon their horsemanship, with the cavalry that he had himself gathered together. And on the following day he crossed the Achaean mountains of Phthia and marched on through a friendly country all the rest of the way, even to the boundaries of the Boeotians.
Which places the encounter south of Pharsalos.

In 1897 the Greeks first fled on foot from Larissa to Pharsalos and were then followed up on foot by the Turks the railways playing little part in the war and none inthe battle of Pharsalos/Fersala.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by amyntoros »

Has anyone seen the ninth episode of 'Decisive Battles', the one titled Cynoscephalae, 197 B.C.? This is the series that uses images from the video game 'Rome, Total War' to recreate battles. I'm generally a little wary of tv shows that try and recreate or even just discuss history as there have been quite a few problems with programs on Alexander over the years. Producers of historical tv shows are not necessarily historians! In the case of Cynoscephalae I wouldn't know from Adam if there are grave errors, but it really did help in my understanding of the battle. Then again, I'm very appreciative of visual aids.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting the youtube link on to this thread is that at the beginning of the video, and in a couple of places within, the talking head stands in front of terrain which he describes as the site of the battle. Obviously he was flown to this place in Greece for those few moments of video, but unfortunately the location is never given other than the voice-over saying, at the very beginning, "This is Cynoscephalae, near the modern town of Larissa in central Greece."

I thought it interesting and the dog's head hills are evident, but I am prepared for some or all of you to tell me it's piffle! :lol:

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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

All the ancient sources who name the hills seem to say kynos kephalai The only one who ends the name with eta rather than a plural ending is Zonaras thirteen hundred years of linguistic evolution later, and sources are weighed not counted.
Precisely my point earlier. We do not simply count “all the ancient sources” when most derive from Polybius, and hence use his word – which itself may be incorrect or corrupted by copyists. Nor do we know the reason for Zonaros use of the singular. And when weighing evidence, should we not give credence to the only contemporary reference, and not merely try to explain it way ? ( see below)
Both Plutarch and Strabo (and their ancient editors) were perfectly capable of changing the name to a singular if their other sources had disagreed with Polybius. If there are any experts on learned medieval Greek here I would be interested to hear their thoughts! Until then, Agesilaus' comment at Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:26 am describes the sort of changes which make this dangerous ground for amateurs to build an argument on.
Firstly, what other sources would they be ? There is no evidence so far as I can recall that all the later authors did not simply rely on the name, correct or otherwise, that came down to them in Polybius. That there were other sources, especially for Livy and Plutarch is clear, but no evidence as to whether those other authors even referred to the name "Kynos Kephalae" at all. One should not assume otherwise without evidence that ‘other sources’ i.e. independent ones, also used Polybius’ form of the name.
It looks to me like the two poems quoted in Plutarch Flaminius 9 pretend to be inscriptions on monuments, as many other Hellenistic epigrams do. If this Alcaeus imagined his poem being written on a monument at a single point, that could be another reason why he used a singular. It is hard to have one grave marker stretching across λόφων ... πυκνῶν καὶ παραλλήλων ἄκραι λεπταὶ (Plut. Flam. 8.1) or οἱ γὰρ προειρημένοι λόφοι ... τραχεῖς δ' εἰσὶ καὶ περικεκλασμένοι καὶ πρὸς ὕψος ἱκανὸν ἀνατείνοντες (Polybius 18.22.9).
Yes, they do look like mock monumental inscriptions. But it is safest to assume that Alcaeus, our only contemporary source, meant what he said, and that the battle took place on a ‘ridge’ or ‘back’[singular], and not manufacture artificial reasons ( such as he used singular for poetic reasons) to try to make him consistent with Polybius. After all, we agree that several hills might have a single ridge – and indeed my suggested site is just such a feature. Given the oddity of the two words in Polybius, viz “Kynos”/dog [singular], followed by “Kephalae”/heads [plural], one would think that later corruption ( a guess to cover an insect hole in the text, or simple copyists error or similar) would be a likelier explanation.

Since it is unknowable, nor even the most important of the criteria, then l would agree with Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?”
You are right about the dog in the name; Polybius 18.22.9 and Plutarch Flam. 8.2 and Strabo Geography 9.5.20/chapter 441 do say Κυνὸς κεφαλάς so he does seem to have thought of it as “the Dog's Heads.” Presumably each of the individual peaks which Polybius and Plutarch describe was called "the Dog's Head."
Re-reading these has thrown up another interesting anomaly. Polybius says the battle took place at “Kynos Kephalae: they are very rough and broken and attain a considerable height.” (Though subsequently describing the battle on a single feature). Plutarch and Strabo both say “peri”/ near, around, or about “Kynos Kephalae”. Which implies that the battle did not take place on “Kynos Kephalae” ( whatever the meaning of the name), but rather in the vicinity of that location. Which means we can place even less reliance on this factor of ‘name’.

Xenophon wrote:
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.


I am no expert in Greek, still less in Greek poetry, but my understanding is the plural is used as often for metrical convenience as the singular in Greek poetry ( see e.g. Horace Jones work). Moreover the plural of ‘nwtn’/ridge/back is ‘nwta’/ridges, which would not break metrical convenience in the slightest if Alcaeus had wanted to use plural. I don’t therefore think this argument is valid.
I am certainly no expert either.

Yes, Greek poets can as easily use the plural for the singular as the singular for the plural, but my point was that the choice of a singular or plural in verse usually says more about the poem than the thing described. The first line of a Greek elegiac couplet normally ends in two long syllables (a spondee) and the singular νώτῳ fits the bill where the plural νώτοις gives a long-short-short dactyl as agesilaus has said. There are some points in verse where one can substitute two short syllables for a long, but in my limited knowledge of Greek metre I do not think that the end of a hexameter line is one of them.
According to the LSJ “pl. always νῶτα” /nw-ta[plural is always νῶτα} – the form of plural I gave in my post, two syllables the same as “nw-tn”, so both ‘fit the bill’ and Alcaeus could have used the plural just as easily, if that had been what he meant.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Of much more pertinence to the site of our battle is the site of Thetideion, as it was from here that Flamininus moved and cannot be far from the ridge from which Philip observed the action around the Roman camp. Thetideion was a village rather than just a rural shrine, Polybios says it was in the territory of Pharsalos, whereas Philip halted at Melambion in that of Skotussa,

Polybios XVIII 20
Both armies, however, continued their march during this day, Flamininus to Eretria in Phthiotis, and Philip to the river Onchestus; and there they respectively pitched their camps. Next day they advanced again, and again encamped: Philip at Melambium in the territory of Scotusa, and Flamininus at the temple of Thetis in that of Pharsalus, being still ignorant of each other's whereabouts. A violent storm of rain and thunder coming on next day, the whole atmosphere descended from the clouds to the earth about the time of the morning watch, so that the darkness was too dense to see even those who were quite close. In spite of this, Philip was so eager to accomplish his object, that he started with his whole army; but finding himself much embarrassed on the march by the mist, after accomplishing a very small distance he again encamped; but he sent his reserve back, with instructions to halt upon the summit of the intervening hills.
The section in italics is not, I would suggest, the best translation, and a better one might be the Loeb’s :
After having made little progress, he entrenched his army and sent off his covering force[vanguard] with orders to occupy the summit of the hills which lay between him and the enemy.
The force concerned, consisting of cavalry and light troops could hardly be described as a ‘reserve’, which was normally of line troops, and they were ordered to occupy/wait on the summit rather than merely ‘halt’.

As to the ‘Thetideion’, why do you think it a village? Hammond and others seem certain it was a temple/shrine site, around which (‘peri’ again) Flamininus camped. As mentioned previously, since we have not a clue to the site of the ‘Thetideion’[other than it lay in the plain below the battle site ridge] or Philip’s ‘Melambium’, they are of no use whatever in defining the site.

Plutarch goes so far as to situate the battle itself in Skottussan territory, Titus Flamininus 7 iii

“The two armies advanced against each other until they came into the neighbourhood of Scotussa, and there they proposed to decide the issue by battle”
.

Krini, over 11 miles away and in the territory of Pharsalos clearly does not meet the requirements, whether one insists that it is Palaipharsalos (which is not mentioned with reference to 197BC) or not. I will post a translation of Decourt's explanation of the road by Krannon in due time, it will bve a good bit of displacement activity.
You are making yet another assumption here, and then predicating an assertion on it, a bad method you often use. We do not know where ancient Scottusan and Pharsalan territory began and ended. The best guess of Hammond, and presumably others, is that it ran along the ridgeline of the Karadag range, and hence the battle took place literally on the border. Nor is whose territory Palaepharsalus lay known - so far as I am aware, though Pharsalus would be my guess.Do you have some evidence ?
Xenophon Hellenika IV 3.iii, intimates that Agesilaos took the central, direct route from Larissa pased Pharsalos;
Then the Larisaeans, Crannonians, Scotussaeans, and Pharsalians, who were allies of the Boeotians, and in fact all the Thessalians except those of them who chanced at that time to be exiles, followed after him and kept molesting him.

The nations appear in in the order they would be encountered along the central route. Coupled with IV 3 viii-ix
Xenophon 'intimates' no such thing. There is no information in this regard.Another ‘itinerary’ based on nothing other than they are in north-south order ? :lol:
One might equally say that they lay in the order of the main Larissa-Crannon-Palaepharsalus-Pharsalus route. Which is immaterial anyway, since as is apparent from the below quote, and the single battle referred to, that they were not encountered one-by-one, but that “The Thessalians” fought united together.

But Polycharmus the Pharsalian, who was the commander of the cavalry, turned round and fell fighting, together with those about him. When this happened, there followed a headlong flight on the part of the Thessalians, so that some of them were killed and others were captured. At all events they did not stop until they had arrived at Mount Narthacium.[9] On that day, accordingly, Agesilaus set up a trophy between Pras and Narthacium and remained on the field of battle, greatly pleased with his exploit, in that he had been victorious, over the people who pride themselves particularly upon their horsemanship, with the cavalry that he had himself gathered together. And on the following day he crossed the Achaean mountains of Phthia and marched on through a friendly country all the rest of the way, even to the boundaries of the Boeotians.

Which places the encounter south of Pharsalos.
Agreed! :D ......Unfortunately none of this says anything about a central/modern route being used, or in fact any particular route. The likelihood, in the absence of any information, is that he used the same major route that all armies used, which we know existed in that era – via Larissa-Crannon-Palaepharsalus-Pharsalus and onward south. From the brief description above, the battle obviously took place somewhere south of Mt Narthacium, back to which the Thessalians were chased (whence they probably dispersed home). Agesilaos next day crossed the Achaean mountains of Pthia,( see map) and hence on to the Battle of Coronea in Boeotia ( not the Coronea marked on the map below).

This isn’t any sort of evidence for a central major road following the modern route. We do not know such a road existed at the time, and King Agesilaos’ march south doesn’t even hint at such a thing. It is just plain wishful thinking. It is a classical example of the fallacy of “It might have been so, for we aren’t told it isn’t.”


In 1897 the Greeks first fled on foot from Larissa to Pharsalos and were then followed up on foot by the Turks the railways playing little part in the war and none in the battle of Pharsalos/Fersala.
Not according to what I have read. After Larissa was abandoned, the Greeks withdrew and set up a new east-west strategic line across the Pharsalus/Fersala plain. The Turks pushed on, and the heaviest fighting centred on the railway route and junction at Velestino, and subsequent seizure of the port of Volos . Do you have ANY actual evidence that the Turks invaded via the central route ? Never mind, it isn’t relevant anyway since we know that route, albeit a track, existed in the 19 century. A track of some sort may have existed in ancient times, but if so it wasn’t a major route. That being so, let us NOT embark on a major digression on the Graeco-Turkish war of 1897, about as far removed from the battle of Cynoscephalae as is possible to get.


Do you have a suggested site for the battle or not ?
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