Decisive Battles (2004– )
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Birth of the Roman Empire 

Battle of Cynoscephalae, 197 BC: In a classic military conflict between two Ancient World superpowers, the great Macedonian phalanx clashed mightily against the heavily fortified Roman legion.
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Matthew Settle ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Connolly Peter Connolly ... Himself
Victor Davis Hanson Victor Davis Hanson ... Himself
Philip Sabin Philip Sabin ... Himself
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Battle of Cynoscephalae, 197 BC: In a classic military conflict between two Ancient World superpowers, the great Macedonian phalanx clashed mightily against the heavily fortified Roman legion.

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1 October 2004 (USA) See more »

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Roman Legions Clobber Macedonian Phalanxes.
21 March 2015 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

Nicely done exercise in computer-generated graphics. Philip of Macedonia, about 200 BC, a descendant of Alexander the Great, thirsts for power and conquers some territory in the eastern Mediterranean. Macedonia is north of Greece, and the Greeks, led by Athens, are nattered, so they ask for help from the still-young Roman Empire. They get it. Philip is defeated and the Romans prevail.

The main reason, according to this program, was the superiority of the Roman legions in this particular terrain. The Roman infantry was armed with shields and short swords, and they were organized into small, flexible units.

The Macedonians used twenty-foot long pikes which were effective against both infantry and cavalry. However, in order for the Macedonian phalanx to work, it need to be organized into large units and this took time. The phalanx was also most effective on plains, whereas this engagement took place on a hilltop.

The ability of the Romans to maneuver defeated the much more rigid phalanx formation and Philip's troops were routed. The majority of them raised their spears, a signal of surrender, but were slaughtered anyway.

Watching this episode, you're impressed by the pageant unfolding on the screen but left wondering if all that sacrifice was really worth it. The battle established Rome as the new Head Honcho in the Mediterranean but, in the end, the grandeur that was Rome followed the glory that was Greece.


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