Talk:Battle of Pydna

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Maps contradicting each other?[edit]

We essentially have one map on the left indicating a north south setup and the one on the right a east west setup with the Macedonians having their backs to the Aegean. The later seems more detailed but seems a weird setup. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 7 November 2013 (UTC)


why dont u idiots put a map showing what part of the plant this battle took place.

The link from Milo links to a Milo who existed in the 6th century BC, the battle happened 160BC, seems like an error to me.

Sources for suspect section (Macedonian political manoeuvring.)[edit]

The addition was not original research, as per Wiki policy, but based on A History of Macedonia by Alekos Angelides (in Greek) and A H Scullard's A History of the Greek World. Being relatively new to Wiki the only reason the addition was "anon" was due to my being unaware of the etiquette involved - though I did refer the addition to another regular contributor before adding it. I did not remove or replace any existing material. Much of what happened 2,174 years ago must be speculative. No mention is made in the article of the use of elephants, for example, though they are believed to have been moved down from present day Kokkinopilo on platforms using tree trunks as rollers. Living in Katerini, which is as near the site of the battle as one is likely to get, considerable interest is taken locally in this battle. I apologise for not having marked the article to be watched - only by using a facility can one learn its effectiveness, and I would have replied earlier. However, I stick by my original additions. I would be interested to know who you refer to as the "original sources". J F C Fuller, who is quoted, "was a vigorous, expressive and opinionated writer of military history and of controversial predictions of the future of war" according to his entry in Wikipedia. Local Greek historians, including Dimitrios Pandermalis, (Professor of the University of Athens and responsible for the restoration of the ruined city of Dion and much else) support the view put forward in the addition. It has been suggested that Emilio Pavlos's retreat was a deliberate feint, as he had realised that the Macedonian forces would have trouble manoeuvring the Sarissa phalanx on the uneven ground of the foothills of Mount Olympus. It is also claimed that Perseus left the battlefield virtually as soon as the fighting started, citing an injury, and that his troops were therefore without a visible leader. I live there and have visited the probable sites - and present day politics in Greece are not that far removed from those of the Macedonian era. Harfo32

Suspect section?[edit]

The whole section on Macedonian political manoeuvering behind the scenes reads a lot like someone's pet theory. There certainly isn't any evidence for this in any of the original sources. The whole section describing the Macedonian aristocracy as being angry with Perseus due to him favoring the Phalanx is particularly weird: 1) The Macedonian Phalanx was the established "power" behind the throne since Phillip, and 2) Perseus was in fact stationed with the cavalry.

I suggest the section is removed. Michael.akinde

I fully agree. The section has been added by an anon. editor, and I've always highly suspected of it; at the least, I found it highly speculative, so I'll remove it. Aldux 11:19, 15 March 2006 (UTC)


Found this interesting astronomical text from 1891 which puts the date of this battle September 3, 172 BCE

In my communication of April 2, I have discussed two exlipses of the moon, each of which has been supposed to be the one which was predicted by Sulpicius Gallus, and which took place during the night which preceded the decisive battle of Pydna. The agreement of the calculated with the observed eclipse, in either case, was far from being stisfactory; especially when we consider the great confusion which the supposition of either of them being the correct one would imply in the Roman calendar. I have since given the subject further consideration, and have apparently had such perfect success that I am unable to understand why either of the eclipses there considered should ever have been regarded as the correct one. For I find that in the year 172 B.C., of ordinary chronology, there was an eclipse of the moon on September 3, which agrees so perfectly with the historical account of the event that it seems impossible to withhold the conclusion that this is really the eclipse to which the historian refers.

According to my computation the eclipse commenced at 11h 58m in the evening of September 2, and ended at 2h 58m on the morning of September 3. The middle of the eclipse was therefore at 1h 28m in the morning, Pydna mean time. The eclipse was very nearly total, having a magnitude of eleven digits on the moon's northern limb. This agrees perfectly with Plutarch's account in all respects except that of totality; but it was so nearly total that the slight discrepancy in that respect would carry very little wight in the question of its identity. The calendar date of the eclipse, September 3, is the same as the date assigned by Livy; and hence we may infer that the Roman calendar at that time was practically free from the confusion which afterwards crept into it during the period of civil wars of Rome. I think we may therefore confidently give, for the true date of the battle of Pydna, September 3, 173 B.C.; which precedes the date usually assigned to that event by four years.

--John N. Stockwell, Cleveland, Ohio, April 21, 1891

What do you think?


For what it's worth, I agree with Stockwell, on different grounds; and it should be noted that non-English-language scholars very often give 172 (not 173, by the way). See the discussion in my footnote to Plutarch's Life of Aemilius. Bill 10:33, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Fuller's Account of Battle Date[edit]

The battle date is shortly after June 21-22, 168 B.C., after a recorded eclipse of the Moon, but the exact date is not known, according to J.F.C. Fuller. The Macedonians reportedly had some kind of outcry that defeat was at hand for them until the eclipse passed, and the Romans were given an explanation that the eclipse is part of nature and natural, so the Romans did not panic.


It does not appear that Pallus was intent on flanking the rear of Perseus and therefore Pallus knew beforehand what vulnerability were apparent in the Phalanx formation. Although commanding 40,000 men to an unrehearsed position is rather difficult, it appears that Perseus exposed his intentions to Pallus and Pallus then trapped Perseus in the foothills where he either knew of the advantage or created an advantage. No general falls back and attacks to win.

"The battle is often considered to be a victory of the Roman legion's flexibility over the phalanx's inflexibility, some argue that the loss was actually due to a failure of command on the part of Perseus. Now whilst this is true to a small extent it doesn’t hide the fact that the Macedonian did not have an answer to the problem of being out flanked by the Romans."

Problem faced by every general in history: It is possible to be flanked

Solution discovered by most: Employ reserves or screen with cavalry

There was no problem of being outflanked at the start of the battle. The wording in the article seems to suggest that there was such a problem before the battle had begun. The problem appeared when the Macedonian cavalry, peculiarly enough, refused to engage thus enabling the enemy to attack the flanks of the phalanx.

GK1973 (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 09:20, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Article contradiction[edit]

Towards the end of the main battle section, it states that afterwords, Macedonia was divided into 3 Republics. On the political aftermath section it states that Macedonia was divided into 4 Republics. Which is it? Jon 13:49, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

cavalry array[edit]

I saw the additions on the cavalry array and I was wondering if someone found any ancient sources on the cavalry formation. Neither Livius nor Polybius or Plutarch giove information on the exact array of the cavalry as far as I know, with the exception of Livius saying that the cavalry fled unscathed because it was posted behind the phalanx, but this could very possibly mean that it could flee because the phaanx had not yet broken, thus the enemy cavalry was maneuvering to this end.

One more thing is that what according to Poseidonius injured Perseus could be an arrow or a javelin, so this is why I stick to "missile".

And the Macedonian casualties according to those writers are "more than 25.000"

GK1973 (talk) 12:17, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Roman troops?[edit]

Thing on the side says 38k roman troops, one of the paragraphs reads 29k troops, where did nine thousand men disappear to or appear from? (talk) 00:47, 29 November 2010 (UTC)