The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Xenophon
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

amyntoros wrote: 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.
Got to agree with that ! :wink:
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."
Well I certainly don't recognise the site. An anonymous site just outside Athens that vaguely resembles descriptions? Perhaps one or more of our Greek members will recognise it ?
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:

Best regards,

Yup! Pretty much as you say, starting with the totally anachronistic Imperial Romans.....rather like showing World War two British soldiers fighting the English Civil War . :roll:

Slightly useful, but to be taken with a large helping of salt...... :lol:
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

Here is the mountain that was probably used in the video as the site for the battle.
http://archive.in.gr/Reviews/image.asp? ... &lngPage=6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbj_nA6ZsB0

I think it's Mavrovouni as seen from Thetidio somewhere in the SW.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

From a greek blog post about some features in Thessaly, we find this about Mavrovouni(Karantao):
Σε αντίθεση με άλλους συγγραφείς ο Stahlin υποστηρίζει ότι η μάχη του 197 π.Χ. έγινε στις πλαγιές , ανάμεσα στις Φερές και το Χαλκωδόνιο.(Πολύβιος 18,19,4, Livius 33,6,4,Ussing 92,Bursian 69 )
Translation: In contrast to other writers Stahlin claims that the battle of 197 BC took place at the ridges, in between Pheres and Halkodonio (Mavrovouni).

http://www.mousikovagoni.com/component/ ... riatoytopo

Also, the post says that it is not certain that Halkodonio is Mavrovouni, but this is were the evidence lead to, in lack of any mentions for this mountain in the ancient sources and maps, which refer only to Halkodonio being in the area.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

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Efstathios wrote:Here is the mountain that was probably used in the video as the site for the battle.
http://archive.in.gr/Reviews/image.asp? ... &lngPage=6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbj_nA6ZsB0

I think it's Mavrovouni as seen from Thetidio somewhere in the SW.
If so, it cannot possibly be the "Kynos Kephalae" of the battle site, because it is certain that Philip marched west toward Scotussa, and he reached the outskirts by the Onchestus[modern Platanorrema] river at the end of his first day’s march. Flamininus reached Eritrea. On the second day Philip continued to “advance” [i.e. march westward], as did Flamininus to the Thetideion/sanctuary of Thetis, and Philip to an unknown place called ‘Melambium’ which was evidently to the north of the Karadag range, and more or less opposite Flamininus camp ‘peri’/around the Thetideion at the foot of, and south of the range. [Polybius XVIII.20.5-6]. I believe this was Pritchetts choice, which he called ‘Mavrorrakhes’. Flamininus would have had to reverse course and march north-east 6-7 km from the modern 'Thetidio' to reach the site of ‘Mavrorrakhes/Mavrovouni ( assuming they are the same) . Polybius tells us that the 'Thetideion' and Roman camp were on the plain at the immediate foot of the ridge.

Philip too would have had to march back north-east....thus since it does not meet Polybius’ description, it cannot be correct.

Stahlin's claim also cannot be correct for the same reason, for his location is east and slightly south of Scotussa – and as mentioned, our sources give no indication that Philip and Flamininus reversed the direction of their marches back east toward Pherae...
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Just to tidy up a loose end, Here is a map from Decourt et Mottas "Voies et Milliaires Romains de Thessalie"/Roman routes and Milestones of Thessaly. The black line running north-south through the pass at Tempe (top right), south west to Larissa and then on to Thaumakoi (bottom) and thence to Lamia and Thermopylae is labelled "route ancienne assure"/certain ancient route while the dashed line is labelled "route ancienne possible"/possible ancient route. The numbers on the map represent discovered Roman milestones. Notice several numbers/milestones clustered around Larissa and Thaumakoi, but none between. This means that the section between is speculative. Notice that here it by-passes Crannon and Pharsalus. However ancient routes were not modern freeways that bypass places, but rather ancient roads ( and modern ones until the 1930's German invention of 'autobahns' ) were meant to join places 'join the dots' fashion. In fact, the Roman itineraries tell us the road ran Larissa-Crannon-Palaepharsalus-Pharsalus, as one might expect. Milestone 18 marks the Pherae gap, on the dashed road south-east from Larissa, before reaching Pthiotic Thebes.

The main solid black line is the route Xerxes very likely took from Tempe to Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

The 'Revenia' is the Karadog range and Palaepharsalus/Krini is at the end of the range, just north of the Enipeus river ( and its name on the map).
Notice also there is no direct/central route following roughly the modern route across the 'Revenia', only the main route to the east.

Please ignore the 'Mavrovouni' marked on the map, it is one of the many so-named places in Greece, and not the one Efstathios referred to.

P.S: apologies for map quality, necessitated by having to reformat, and alter the sizing of it.....
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

I haven't read all the sources, but you are making the assumption that they continued west. Polybious says that they first were to engage at Pheres, which is modern Velestino, but then both armies went west, going almost parallel and eventually Phillip made camp at Melambion which is north of Skotousa and Titus at Thetidion.
τῇ δ’ ὑστεραίᾳ προελθόντες ἐστρατοπέδευσαν, Φίλιππος μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ Μελάμβιον προσαγορευόμενον τῆς Σκοτουσσαίας, Τίτος δὲ περὶ τὸ Θετίδειον τῆς Φαρσαλίας, ἀκμὴν ἀγνοοῦντες ἀλλήλους
Both of these locations are west and southwest of Khalkodhouion mountain (Mavrovouni, karantao) and very close to it.
οὐ μὴν ἀλλ’ ὅ γε Φίλιππος κατανύσαι σπεύδων ἐπὶ τὸ προκείμενον, ἀναζεύξας προῄει μετὰ πάσης τῆς στρατιᾶς. δυσχρηστούμενος δὲ κατὰ τὴν πορείαν διὰ τὴν ὀμίχλην, βραχὺν τόπον διανύσας τὴν μὲν δύναμιν εἰς χάρακα παρενέβαλε, τὴν δ’ ἐφεδρείαν ἀπέστειλε, συντάξας ἐπὶ τοὺς ἄκρους ἐπιβαλεῖν τῶν μεταξὺ κειμένων βουνῶν
The fist in bold is "they traveled a short distance", and the second is "in between the mountains". Polybius mentioned that the second day, both armies were going back and forth until they settled at Melambion and Skotousa. And he then says that due to the weather Phillip send the reserves (τὴν δ’ ἐφεδρείαν ἀπέστειλε) to go up the hills in between the mountains. Polybius talks about mountains, and both Thetidion and Skotousa are very close to Mavrovouni, so essentially the battle could have happened in it's western or southwestern slopes. I do not know how Hammond reached the conclusion that the battle took place further west, but Polybius at least talks about mountains, and not one but more. Then again we are talking about Polybius here. I will study the other sources and see what i can find.

Btw, the english pronunciation of KynosKephalae reminds me of sinuses :D The y is pronounced as the "e" in "keen" and the "e" and "ae" as the "e" in "lent".
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

I haven't read all the sources, but you are making the assumption that they continued west. Polybious says that they first were to engage at Pheres, which is modern Velestino, but then both armies went west, going almost parallel and eventually Phillip made camp at Melambion which is north of Skotousa and Titus at Thetidion.
I don’t think that is quite correct, Efstathios. According to Polybius, on day 1 of the march west by both armies, Philip arrived at the river Onchestus, on the outskirts of Scotussa [Polyb XVIII.20.5], a march of around 25 km or so. South of the range, Flamininus reached Eretria. Next day ( the second day) they both “advanced” (i.e. continued west ); Philip to ‘Melambium’, and Flamininus camped around[peri] the Thetideion, apparently a shrine to Thetis, location also unknown save that it lay at the foot of the Kynos Kephalae battle site. This cannot be the modern village now named ‘Thetidio’, which does not meet the description.
( As I am sure you are aware, places in Greece centuries ago often had names of Turkish, Albanian, and Slavic origin, especially in northern Greece. After independence in 1832, it was Greek policy to change these names to new Greek ones. Often a ‘classical’ name was chosen, but that did not mean there was any connection to a classical site. Names therefore are not a good guide to locating ancient places, especially in northern Greece.)

On the third day, Philip again “advanced” – continued west – with his whole army, but did not get far in the mist. He stopped and entrenched, but sent off his covering force/vanguard to “occupy the summits of the hills which lay between him and the enemy”....and the battle commenced from there. Flamininus remained in his camp around the ‘Thetideion’, and “pushed forward ten squadrons of horse and 1,000 light armed infantry[euzanon]” i.e. they too move westward. Neither side carries out a retrograde movement.

So it is not an "assumption" that the armies moved west for 2 days, rather what Polybius specifically says.

τῇ δ’ ὑστεραίᾳ προελθόντες ἐστρατοπέδευσαν, Φίλιππος μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ Μελάμβιον προσαγορευόμενον τῆς Σκοτουσσαίας, Τίτος δὲ περὶ τὸ Θετίδειον τῆς Φαρσαλίας, ἀκμὴν ἀγνοοῦντες ἀλλήλους

Both of these locations are west and southwest of Khalkodhouion mountain (Mavrovouni, karantao) and very close to it.
As I say, neither location is actually known, but even if the ‘modern’ places are accepted, getting to Mavrovouni would involve a backward move by the armies. ( see my first post yesterday Sat 11 April). The modern village of Thetidio is around 6-7 km from Mavrovouni – hardly ‘close’ and certainly not at the foot of the hills as Polybius describes.Then there is the area itself, far too large and rough. Where is there a ridge running east-west which two armies could be either side of, yet not too far apart ? What possible tactical reason could either army have for going there? Could elephants have climbed over Mavrovouni?

οὐ μὴν ἀλλ’ ὅ γε Φίλιππος κατανύσαι σπεύδων ἐπὶ τὸ προκείμενον, ἀναζεύξας προῄει μετὰ πάσης τῆς στρατιᾶς. δυσχρηστούμενος δὲ κατὰ τὴν πορείαν διὰ τὴν ὀμίχλην, βραχὺν τόπον διανύσας τὴν μὲν δύναμιν εἰς χάρακα παρενέβαλε, τὴν δ’ ἐφεδρείαν ἀπέστειλε, συντάξας ἐπὶ τοὺς ἄκρους ἐπιβαλεῖν τῶν μεταξὺ κειμένων βουνῶν

The fist in bold is "they traveled a short distance", and the second is "in between the mountains". Polybius mentioned that the second day, both armies were going back and forth until they settled at Melambion and Skotousa. And he then says that due to the weather Phillip send the reserves (τὴν δ’ ἐφεδρείαν ἀπέστειλε) to go up the hills in between the mountains. Polybius talks about mountains, and both Thetidion and Skotousa are very close to Mavrovouni, so essentially the battle could have happened in it's western or southwestern slopes. I do not know how Hammond reached the conclusion that the battle took place further west, but Polybius at least talks about mountains, and not one but more. Then again we are talking about Polybius here. I will study the other sources and see what i can find.
Yes, Philip didn’t get far in the mist, and entrenched again. The second refers to Philip’s troops being ordered to occupy the summits of the hills between the armies. I would hardly call 6-7 km away “very close” ( see above) – the Roman camp was at the foot of the hills in question and Philip could see the Roman camp and his troops fighting in its vicinity from the summit – quite impossible 6-7 km away !! Which again rules out this site.
Btw, the english pronunciation of KynosKephalae reminds me of sinuses :D The y is pronounced as the "e" in "keen" and the "e" and "ae" as the "e" in "lent".
Yes, I guess it does sound something akin to a sneeze ! :lol:
One does not hear the word spoken out loud much (!), but I pronounce it Ky [like why’] nos Keph [like ‘left’] alae [like ‘lay’].
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

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The red line demarcates Skotussan and Pharsalian territory, the brown shows the route Decourt notes when he is not concerned solely with the Roman roads. This is the area one needs to look for the battlefield as Polybios puts Thetideion and the Roman camp about it in Pharsalian territory and Melambion and Philip's penultimate halt in Skotussan land, from which he moved but a short distance.

This area is also much more likely a site for the 364 battle of the same name (certainly not sourced from Polybios but most likely from Ephoros) as it is between Alexander's base of Pherai and Pelopidas' at Pharsalos.

Decourt gives the evidence for Thetideion being a town rather than just a shrine
c. Thetideion
What we know about Thetideion comes from three separate traditions: legend, history, geography – this last mingled with legend.
The first group of texts consists of those reports which concern the deeds of Achilles in general: the courtship of Thetis and Peleus, the captivity of Andromache after the capture of Troy. All of these texts are , in fact, at the root of the passage in Strabo which we shall analyse last.
- Euripides sets the action of his ‘Andromache’ specifically at the palace of Neoptolemos at Thetideion (n. 16-23; Thetideion was not known to Homer any more than Pharsalos)
‘I live now in the lands that border on Phthia here and the city of Pharsalia, lands where the sea-goddess Thetis, far from the haunts of men and fleeing their company, dwelt as wife with Peleus. The people of Thessaly [20] call it Thetideion in honor of the goddess's marriage. Here is where Achilles' son made his home, and he lets Peleus rule over the land of Pharsalia, being unwilling to take the sceptre during the old man's lifetime.’
- Hellanikos, we know from a citation of Etienne of Byzantium, gives the following etymology (FGH 4, 136)
‘Hellanikos writes the name without the sigma, as he derives it from Thetis’
- Phylarchos, preserved in a scholium to Pindar(FGH 81 81), scarcely says any more even if the exposition is padded out with mythological musings:
‘Phylarchos says…that she came to Thessaly in bad health and was cared for in the city called Thetideion after her.’
- Pherecydes (FGH 3, 1 a and c) proceeds along the same lines, in two scholia, one on Pindar, the other on Euripides :
‘She [Thetis] lived at Pharsalos and Thetideion, a city which gets its name from Thetis; Theitideion belonged to Achilles; it is a city in Thessaly as Pherycedes and Suidas say.’
- The note of Etienne of Byzantine, which was mentioned above, belongs to the same group despite theorthographical error with reagards to the name:
- ‘Thestideion, city of Thessaly…Hellanikos says it is named after Thetis… the people Thestideans.

The geographical indications which might allow, in the best case, an accurate siting of Thetideion are thus pretty meagre, if one only had these five texts to go on. Thetideion ids a Thessalian construction – the word ‘polis’ in Phylarchos and Pherycedes should not fool us – doubtless of some importance, since the palace of the crown prince, Neoptolemos, was found there, but quite far from the regional centre, almost a frontier town, ‘at the border of the state of Phthia and the city of Pharsalos’. It is clear that during the Classical and Hellenistic period Thetideion did not have the status of a city.
The second tradition is found in the texts of those ancient historians who tell of the two battles called Cynoscephalae, which were fought in the neighbourhood, that of 364BC, which pitted Alexander of Pherae against Pelopidas and that of 197BC between Flamininus and Philip V.
We know of the first thanks to three writers, Plutarch, Diodorus of Sicily and Cornelius Nepos (Plut Pel.32, Thetideion is mentioned at 32 I, Diod 15 lxxx; Corn. Nep. Pel 5). Only the first need concern us here, for his is the fullest account of the three, but most of all since he alone mentions Thetideion.
The battle of 197, what we know about this is retailed in the parallel narratives of Polybios and Livy, which both mention Thetideion (Polybius XVIII 20 v-vii, Livy 33,vi).
The exact course of these operations need not detain us: it has been detailed above (pp92-96 and 107-114). What is important here is what we can draw from these texts concerning Thetideion. We learn from Polybios and Livy that it was not a city but a village, kome in the territory of Pharsalos. Thetideion was almost certainly in the plain at the eastern end of the Enipeus valley, at the foot of Revenia. The low-lying position of Thetideion is confirmed by Diodoros XV 80 v, ‘Although Alexander had the advantage by reason of his superior position, Pelopidas, eager to settle the battle by his own courage, charged Alexander himself.’ And Plutarch Pel. 32 ii ‘At the place called Cynoscephalae, steep and lofty hills jut out into the midst of the plain, and both leaders set out to occupy these with their infantry. His horsemen, however, who were numerous and brave, Pelopidas sent against the horsemen of the enemy, and they prevailed over them and chased them out into the plain. But Alexander got possession of the hills first,’ both emphasis the lower position of Pelopidas. Further, had she been in the hills Thetideion would have been in the territory of Skotussa rather than Pharsalos. However, Thetideion (cf Plut) was not far from a series of heights in Skotussan territory – a city the ruins of which are still clearly visible between the villages of Aghios Triada/Soupli in the east and Ano Scotussa/Arnautli in the west – heights sufficiently detached in the countryside and of distinct enough shape to have gained the name Cynoscephalae. Unfortunately, as we said above (pp113-4), no one has been able to definitively identify these ‘dog’s heads’ in the landscape nor decide to exactly which summits of the Kara Dag (today Cynoscephalae) this name belongs. Thetideion was at the southern foot of Revenia, probably at the northern edge of Pharsalian territory on an easy route from Pharsalos to either Eretria in th east or Pherae to the north east.
The final piece of evidence concerning Thetideion is a text which concerns precisely the realm of Achilles , that of Strabo, which has already been quoted concerning Palaipharsalos and which I will not repeat here (supra p201). This passage, it must be remembered, needs to be used with caution where it does not concern the nature of Hellas (town or country?) and also that one point of reference (Palaipharsalos) is not certainly located itself, does give a precise location in the landscape with many signposts.
The situation of Thetideion , which rests on these nine texts has spawned an abundance of literature, in which the discussion is limited to three candidates; Hill 269, marked on the maps by a ‘kastro’, north of Thetideion/Alchani (it has to be borne in mind that the modern rechristening of Alchani, Thetideion is not significant).; the hill calledPnakakia, to the west of the same village; the low hill which bears the church of Hagios Athanasios close to Kato Dasolophos/Orman Magoula in the valley. There is an excellent synthesis of these discussions in W K Pritchett’s book (Topography, pp114-7), so clear and complete that I need not repeat it here and refer you to the bibliography.
I state that the survey we conducted in the region in 1980 confirm the remarks made by Pritchett. In fact we found nothing on Pnakakia, and only a very few unconvincing shards on kastro269 – which is not strictly speaking a kastro. Again ancient blocks – in particular the famous offerings’ table – are still visible within the enclosure and in the walls of the chapel at Hagios Athanasios (figs109 – 111) as well as scattered shards on the little mound. Furthermore the habitation in this sector seems to be relatively dense. Another site 500-600 metres to east south-east of the chapel produced several shards of black glazed Hellenistic ware and numerous fragments of tile. Finally we recall that about 1.5km to the south-east the village of Kato Dasolophos was built, as its Turkish era name (Orman Magoula) shows, on a ‘magoula’. This term denotes a Neolithic settlement and we have effectively collected many fragments of pottery of that era as well as numerous fragments of flint. The site was published by Bequignon, who discovered Neolithic pottery and a steatopygian statuette, and a note in ‘Archaeologischer Anzeiger’ which mentions some Mycenaean finds. We can say, moreover, that the site was still occupied during the Byzantine period based on shards shown to us by the inhabitants of the village in 1980. Also, whilst it is difficult to say that Thetideion was definitely situated there, conglomeration of positive assumptions allows us to, nevertheless, think it; correspondence with military marches, the archaeological remains, being in the territory of Pharsalos.
We can now return to the to the principal text of Strabo: that which mention three landmarks which must now be placed in the landscape. The first, Pharsalos, called the New, is sufficiently known. The second, Thetideion, even if there is some doubt about its exact location, can be placed within a kilometre or so in a precise area, that is on the Northern side of the valley of the Enipeus, close to its bend. Strabo’s text also expresses the relationship between two points as ‘plesion’. But we see that the distance between two points whose position we can recover, New Pharsalos and Thetideion is the length of the valley, more than 10km.
These two points being known we can deduce correctly the third to find Palaipharsalos. But this calculation gives rise to different hypotheses; Pharsalos itself, the ‘paliokastro’ of Ambelia, the hill of Ktouri, some poorly identified spots north of the Enipeus, and finally the village of Krini, we have to examine all these theories before putting forward our own if that is possible.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

Xenophon, some of the towns and villages retained their ancient name, and some others were renamed during the Othoman occupation. The modern Thetidion is not in the same place as the ancient, but it got it's name from the ancient town that was nearby, and is considered to have been a bit to the south. Melamvion was a bit north of Skotousa. These are the sites where Phillip's and Titu's camps were before the battle. As i quoted above and used bold, Phillip send the reserves to the mountains nearby. If you use google earth you will see that there are no other mountains or high hills in the entire area, with the closest being near Krini where you put the site of the battle. But Krini is too far west from Melamvion and Thetidion. If one uses google earth and street or ground view, they can see that the entire area has little and rather flat hills, and higher ground was the slopes in Mavrovouni or in Krini, and possibly some hills to the south east of modern Thetidion. Therefore for one to see clearly they would need to go to one of these areas.

I've marked everything on the map. Site A is Hammond's suggested site, Site B is yours at krini, and Site C mine, which is at the slopes around Mavrovouni. Also marked are the possible sites of ancient Thetidion and Melamvion. If they were somewhere there, then Krini is far away to the west. Agesilaos' suggestion is further SW towards Farsala. The elephants could climb the slopes at Mavrovouni, they are not that steep, the battle may have taken place low in the slopes.

Not that it matters much, but the correct pronunciation is the one i wrote. :D
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by system1988 »

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Agesilaos refers that Decourt wrote: "However, Thetideion (cf Plut) was not far from a series of heights in Skotussan territory – a city the ruins of which are still clearly visible"
Above are the remains of the Skotussan walls.
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"Kinos Kefalae (June 197 BC) The march of the opposing forces before the battle
BLUE ARROW --> march of the Philip V's Forces
RED ARROW --> march of the Roman forces and their allies under Titus Cointius Flaminius
X --> Location of the first encounter of macedonian and roman frontal forces in the area of Feres
HEAD --> Location of the frontal forces (horsemen battle)
ENCIRCLED HEAD --> Location of the Kinos Kefalae battle
BLUE RED RECTANGULARS --> Successive encampents of the oppsosing armies
EMPTY RED RECTANGULAR --> Sanctum
GREEN DOTS --> Modern villages
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From the "History of the Greek Nation" Εκδοτική Αθηνών 1974
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

I apologise to readers for being rather slow to respond to recent posts, due to my being ‘hors de combat’ for the last week or two with an injury that has kept me bed-ridden. Happily, I am slowly recovering.

I had hoped we had bid ‘Adieu’ to the unreliable and frequently error ridden Monsieur Decourt, but it seems Agesilaos preferred ‘Au revoir!’ Unfortunately Agesilaos has posted two examples which demonstrate this propensity only too well.

When it comes to the boundaries of ancient territories, these of course often altered over time, and were sometimes, though not always, marked with ‘boundary stones’. Only IF that was the case, and only IF those stones were still in situ, or if boundaries are referred to explicitly in literature, is it possible to delineate territories with any degree of certainty for any given period. Since such is not the case in this instance, then the boundaries of each city’s territories remain unknown and probably unknowable, as a little thought would demonstrate. One thing is certain, and that is that territory boundaries would not consist of neat straight lined polygons !

Monsieur Decourt is evidently aware of this, because his caption ( omitted by Agesilaos) reads Plate XIV “ Map of theoretical zones of Greek cities in the Enipeus valley” – in other words not intended to be in any way an accurate representation of actual territories. All we can deduce in actuality from Polybius is that Scotussan territory lay somewhere to the north of the Karadag range ( because Philip’s camp was north of the range, at an unknown place called ‘Melambium’), and that the ‘Thetideion’ and Flamininus’ camp lay to the south in Pharsalan territory. A reasonable guess might be that the boundary lay on either the northern or southern side somewhere at the foot of the range, or perhaps down the ridge line, or most likely of all that it was rather ‘fuzzy’, and not sharply delineated at all, unlike modern borders, but simply rather general in nature, i.e.anywhere north of the mountains was Scotussan and anywhere south Pharsalan. ( c.f. vague boundaries to tribal territories ).

Agesilaos wrote:
The red line demarcates Skotussan and Pharsalian territory, the brown shows the route Decourt notes when he is not concerned solely with the Roman roads. This is the area one needs to look for the battlefield as Polybios puts Thetideion and the Roman camp about it in Pharsalian territory and Melambion and Philip's penultimate halt in Skotussan land, from which he moved but a short distance.

The ‘brown’ line is actually dotted on the original, which Decourt uses to mark “possible ancient routes”, whilst solid black lines mark “certain ancient routes” ( though not necessarily exactly) – see the map I posted Sat April 11, and note too that the western route is not “solely...Roman”, but designated as a certain ancient route.

In any event, the fact that Decourt thinks there might have been a “possible” track roughly along the modern route is not in dispute – there may have been one, as I mentioned earlier. What we know for certain is that there is no evidence for such a route prior to the nineteenth century that I can find, and presumably Agesilaos likewise, and there is no evidence it was a major route/main road capable of supporting large wagons during the Classical/Hellenistic period.I can't find a source, ancient or modern that suggests that such a route/road existed and was the main route over the Karadag range through Thessaly. All agree that the main north/south route was the western pass, even if not all agree the exact route, and that there was an eastern route via Pherae.
This area is also much more likely a site for the 364 battle of the same name (certainly not sourced from Polybios but most likely from Ephoros) as it is between Alexander's base of Pherai and Pelopidas' at Pharsalos.


That is not a logical assertion, it does not follow that the battle necessarily took place ‘between’ Pherae and Pharsalus especially as any number of locations, including the site I propose, can be so described.
Decourt gives the evidence for Thetideion being a town rather than just a shrine.
....which turns out to be no evidence at all, not least because Decourt makes incorrect statements!

The first five references to ‘palace’ and cities are all purely mythical, and there is no evidence such a place ever existed. Even Decourt calls it ‘meagre’, and knows such a ‘city’ did not exist.
This brings us to Polybius, Plutarch and Livy. Decourt says “ We learn from Polybios and Livy that it was not a city but a village, kome in the territory of Pharsalos”.

This statement is either a bad mistake, or false. Neither Polybius nor Livy ( nor Plutarch) refer to the ‘Thetideion’ as a village/kome. The word translates literally as ‘temple[or shrine] of Thetis’ ( see LSJ), and its exact location is unknown, but cannot possibly be where Decourt and others locate it ( largely following Pritchett)– way too far from the foot of the ridge, many kilometres away, which does not fit with what Polybius and Plutarch write about it and its proximity to the hills. ( Polybius XVIII.20.6 simply says Flamininus camped “round/around the Temple of Thetis/peri to Thetideion”. [ note: “the Thetideion”, which is not how one would refer to a village]

Having followed Pritchett to wrongly locate a non-existent ‘village’ called Thetideion, Decourt then proceeds, based on this error, to decide that Palaepharsalus lies at Xylades, a mere 6 or 7 km west of Eretria, ignoring the fact that Caesar fought Pompey at Palaepharsalus in 48 B.C. and that this could not have possibly occurred anywhere in the vicinity of Xylades.

It is all hopelessly wrong, and merely serves to ‘muddy the waters’. The location of all these places must inter-relate with all three battles – Cynoscephalae 364 B.C. and 197 B.C. and also Palaepharsalus 48 B.C. and must fulfil many factors.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Efstathios wrote:
The modern Thetidion is not in the same place as the ancient, but it got its name from the ancient town that was nearby, and is considered to have been a bit to the south. Melamvion was a bit north of Skotousa.
These locations follow in the tradition of Pritchett, and simply cannot be correct, because they are not consistent with our source material. Mavrovouni does not fit what our sources have to say about the battle site, and cannot be the right location. The Krini[ formerly Driskoli] area, and the ridge just to its East fits the many criteria pertinent to all three battles best.

I see from Pauline’s post that the “official” Greek version seems to follow Pritchett too, but it simply cannot be right:

1. It has Philip reach ‘Melambium’ before Scotussa, whereas Philip marched to Scotussa the first day, and Melambium the second day. Pritchett mis-identifies the Onchestus river.[ see Hammond and Morgan in particular]

2. The distances marched are way too short for ‘a day’s march’ – a paltry 10km or so the first day, and an even more meagre 6 km or so the second, not even getting as far as Scotussa!

3. The supposed site of the Thetideion is way too far from the battlefield, [Philip could see it at the foot of the ridge from the top ] and is close to Scotussa, whereas Polybius says it was in Pharsalan territory.

4. This scenario has Flamininus turn back east when the sources say his vanguard continued west “forward.... toward the pass, over the hills” where they encounter Philip’s men.[Polyb XVIII.21.2] The pass is evidently close by. There is no plausible pass in Pritchett’s, or similar, scenarios.

The terrain around Pritchett’s Mavrorrakhes does not remotely match our sources, nor does that around Efstathios’ Mavrovouni, and the sources refer to the ridge top, not a battle on the lower slopes.
It should also be borne in mind that there are other criteria to fulfil than just high ground and place names, which are of ‘modern’ origin anyway.

I don’t think Agesilaos has suggested an actual site, other than to say that he thinks it was east of the modern road, and I notice that no-one other than me has nominated a specific site, showing how the troops of both sides fitted the terrain, just approximate areas.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Efstathios »

Xenophon, the thing is that the march towards Krini is not long either, these places are all closeby. Granted, Krini is a bit more to the west but not far. The sources mention that the two armies were going in circles the second day. As for the ancient Melamvion and Thetidion, there are good clues as to their location, both from archaeological research and from research in general. They couldn't be that far away from the suggested sites anyway. As for the other matters, they have been discussed already. The hill at Krini just doesn't fit the descriptions, apart from it having a ridge.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by Xenophon »

Efstathios wrote:
The sources mention that the two armies were going in circles the second day.
I don't know which sources you are referring to, but neither Polybius, Livy nor Plutarch make any such reference.

Polybius XVII.20
.....both parties broke up their camps next day. Philip directed his march towards Scotussa, because he desired to supply himself with provisions from that town,.....while Flamininus, divining his intention, got his army on the march at the same time as Philip..... A range of hills intervening between their two lines of march, the Romans could not see in what direction the Macedonians were marching, nor the Macedonians the Romans. 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 Scotussa, and Flamininus at the temple of Thetis in that of Pharsalus, being still ignorant of each other's whereabouts.
Livy XXXIII.6.8 follows Polybius as his source quite closely and says:
....as if by agreement both marched in the direction of Scotussa, Philip hoping to find food there......... [9] The two columns marched the whole day, nowhere seeing one another, since there was a continuous range of hills between them. The Romans encamped near Eretria in Phthiotis, Philip on the river Onchestus. [10] Nor did either army know for certain where the [11] enemy was, even the following day, though Philip encamped near Melambium, as they call it, in the country of Scotusa, and the Romans around Thetideum, in the territory of Pharsalia.
Plutarch does not give the day by day details of the march.
As you can see, there is no reference to "going in circles the second day. "
As for the ancient Melamvion and Thetidion, there are good clues as to their location, both from archaeological research and from research in general. They couldn't be that far away from the suggested sites anyway. As for the other matters, they have been discussed already. The hill at Krini just doesn't fit the descriptions, apart from it having a ridge.
I'm not aware of any 'clues' that might give a definite location for either, and as far as I know the exact positions are unknown, as I referred to earlier. I would be most interested to hear of any 'research', archaeological or general, you may have or know of that would give a specific location for either, other than simply the general area deduced from the above sources.

If you go back to page 1, you will see that I set out how the feature/set of hills just east of Krini fulfilled ALL the criteria we can glean from our three sources.
No other site suggested so far does.
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Re: The Probable site of Kynoskephalae battlefield 197 BC

Post by agesilaos »

Sorry to hear you have suffered an injury and one can only wish you a speedy and full recovery. Now, how to explain such an explicit ad hominem attack upon M. Decourt? You have not spent ten years on the ground surveying the Enipeus valley, as he has, you speak neither modern nor ancient Greek, I doubt Latin, he does and has been a respected academic, respected enough for the editors of the Barrington atlas to accept his interpretations; nor do I think you have read his works, since, by your own admission your French is poor. ‘Unreliable and error ridden’ ? Were you in a position to judge, it would remain ad hominem, but should a legalistic defence appear, please remember that that will allow everyone to apply the same terms to you and escape any complaint of ad hominem attacks.

Both Paralus and I have mentioned that, for whatever reason, we cannot upload the attachments we want, hence the excision of the title to the map. Of course, I also assumed that the members of the forum had sufficient intelligence to work out for themselves that the straight lines and concentric circles represented a model, rather than absolute reality; seems that, in one case, I was mistaken. :twisted:

Now, that said, it does not mean one can assume the cities’ territories extended however far one finds convenient; Skotussa was never the paramount city in Thessaly, as Pherai, Pharsalos (providing Parmenion’s guard ile) Larissa or Krannon. The ‘we cannot know’ card is not a trump suit when there is evidence from which we can deduce things; otherwise we may as well just give up. To stretch Skotussan territory so far west that Krini might be on its borders despite the prescence of more powerful cities closer by strains credulity, ‘as a little thought would demonstrate’. :lol:

That you do not find any evidence is not surprising; but, consider the situation Morgan posits in 48 BC, and you presumably follow; Caesar is explicit that the only Thessalian city loyal to Pompey was Larissa, where Scipio had stationed his army. This following Caesar’s sacking of Gomphi and good treatment of Metropolis (which had admitted him), De Bello Civile, III 81. Pompey is camped by Krini and is supplied from Larissa, BUT Krannon, loyal to Caesar, is actually on that road, according to Morgan and you; and close enough for interdiction according to Decourt. Since the battle MUST be in the west that only leaves the supposedly non-proven central route for Pompey to receive his supplies. Military probability… :roll:

Of course, that should never interfere with a confirmation bias; Krini can be described as between Pharsalos and Pherai, only if one starts at Pharsalos and moves west to circumnavigate the globe, otherwise one moves east from Pharsalos towards Pherai, leaving Krini irrelevantly to the northwest.

In Greek Proper nouns all take the definite article, so it is not Alexandros, but ho Alexandros, and similarly ton Thetideion, whether it is a shrine or a city, but Euripides and his scholia together with Strabo, indicate that we should understand a town,here; unless one wishes to ignore the ancient evidence, which even Morgan does not here , as Strabo’s statement that Palaipharsalos and Thetideion were equidistant from Pharsalos is part of his argument.

Krini is too far west and leaves Flamininus a lovely route to Philip’s supply base at Larissa while he sits on an irrelevant hill, it is a single feature rather than part of a range(as described by the sources) and cannot be where the earlier battle occurred; the battle of 48BC is not relevant, as neither Palaipharsalos nor Pharsalos are mentioned in Polybios’ account of the 197 battle and only Pharsalos, Pelopidas’ base, in Plutarch’s account of the earlier battle. Caesar actually mentions neither, indeed he only mentions Larissa by name even the Enipeus has to be inferred: all in all it is better to collate the two battles explicitly named Kynoskephalai.

And finally the Nikanor in the room (that’s the ‘Elephant’ in the room), if the battle is at Krini and Krini is Palaipharsalos, why is it (they) not the battle of Palaipharsalos???
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