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Old January 4th, 2013, 06:39 PM   #1

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Could Alexander have defeated the Romans?


Hey guys
Being a fan and reader of Roman history I tend to defend them to no end. My friends on the other hand are fanatics with Greek and Macedonia history. One debate which we even have a professor involved in is about the "what ifs"

Basically, Rome was able to conquer pretty much everyone they needed or wanted to. Now the Macedonia that Rome fought was a lot different from the Macedonia that Alexander and his father build. The army itself was built different and the tactics were completely different. The army in the Macedonian wars didn't even field the powerful cavalry.

So my question is, if Macedonia was at the height of its power before conquering Persia, would it have been strong enough to stop the Romans?
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Old January 4th, 2013, 06:51 PM   #2

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The Romans would have crushed them without a sweat...
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Old January 4th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #3

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It would depend upon the Roman commander, and whether or not they allow Alexander to impose his will on the battlefield.

History is on the side of the Romans (Phalanx vs Legions) when it comes to the confrontation of the two styles, but Alexander was quite an innovative commander.

It will come down to the flexibility of the Roman Legions vs Alexanders innovation, and here, I believe if the Romans a strong leader, then they will force the pace, and become victorious.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Micheal Weston View Post
Basically, Rome was able to conquer pretty much everyone they needed or wanted to.
I don't think so, Alexander was able to conquer pretty much everyone he needed or wanted to, not Rome. Rome was powerless against the Germans and Persians, Rome failed to extend its control to North-Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Alexander crushed the Persians and extend his empire to the Indus River. Rome had many good generals and commanders, but very few can match the achievement by Alexander, not even Caesar or Trajan. The only advantage of Rome is the stability of the empire they created, which lasted for many centuries vs. only a few years for Macedonian Empire.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #5

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Hannibal was able to defeat Romans with phalanx.

Romans always defeated the phalanx when it moved onto broken ground. Though it is true that unlike later armies Alexander never used the phalanx as the main weapon, that was the cavalry. Ground would be the most important factor.

Most likely is Alexander wins, and wins and wins, then can't work out why the Romans haven't given up, wins some more, now is really confused why the Romans won't give up, wins even more, then gets really apoplexed that the Romans still haven't given up so wins again, then loses, then loses a second time and gives up. Later while committing suicide Alexander scratching heading thinks but I beat them 20 times they beat me twice, an I lost, how the hell did this happen?
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #6

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Most likely is Alexander wins, and wins and wins, then can't work out why the Romans haven't given up, wins some more, now is really confused why the Romans won't give up, wins even more, then gets really apoplexed that the Romans still haven't given up so wins again, then loses, then loses a second time and gives up, committing suicide while scratching heading thinking but I beat them 20 times they beat me twice, an I lost, how the hell did this happen?
You know what, that had me laughing. A quite excellent (and humorous) summary of the Roman mindset
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:47 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
Hannibal was able to defeat Romans with phalanx.

Romans always defeated the phalanx when it moved onto broken ground. Though it is true that unlike later armies Alexander never used the phalanx as the main weapon, that was the cavalry. Ground would be the most important factor.

Most likely is Alexander wins, and wins and wins, then can't work out why the Romans haven't given up, wins some more, now is really confused why the Romans won't give up, wins even more, then gets really apoplexed that the Romans still haven't given up so wins again, then loses, then loses a second time and gives up. Later while committing suicide Alexander scratching heading thinks but I beat them 20 times they beat me twice, an I lost, how the hell did this happen?
Not going to happen with Alex. Romans could afford to be stuborn with Hannibal because:

1) Hannibal was extraordinarily lenient. Many Italian allies could choose to stay neutral or even go back to ally Rome pretty much without consequences. Not so with the much more severe Alexander. Just look at Thebes, and it's hardly the only city to get wiped out.

2) Alexander was extremely bold risk-taker. After Cannae, Alex would likely just march on Rome a la Caesar. Remember at the time, Rome and Italy were very distinct entities. Taking out Rome the city, Rome would no longer be Rome.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #8

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2) Alexander was extremely bold risk-taker. After Cannae, Alex would likely just march on Rome a la Caesar. Remember at the time, Rome and Italy were very distinct entities. Taking out Rome the city, Rome would no longer be Rome.
The comparison with Hannibal is nice, but the op never established a time period. Republican Rome is alot different to Imperial Rome.

Imperial Rome have professional and experienced legions that are now maneouvering in cohorts, rather than maniples (giving a greater degree of flexibility) and the city is not defenceless. It has Urban cohorts; and if the emperor is present; Preatorian guards, ready to defend to the city.

Plenty of time for Roman Legions to converge on the area.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 08:45 PM   #9

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The Romans would have crushed them without a sweat...
You have lost all grip on reality.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 08:55 PM   #10

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I once watched a history channel show called, "Battles B.C." I believe it was called. They used the Rome Total War game engine to simulate just this scenario.

It would seem based on their results that the Macedonians would loose.

Although their are always different factors to be considered.
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