Pontic phalanx

Apr 2018
712
Upland, Sweden
#2
Did the infantry during the Battle of Charanoea against Romans use the phalanx?

I'd wager they used something pretty similar to the Macedonian phalanx, maybe with more missile troops (being an Eastern greek and so on).

This question got me interested... I've heard about "imitation legionaries" (Dan Carlin talked about the phenomenon on his Hardcore History podcast while I was relistening to the them a while ago) being attempted by Rome's enemies during the late Republic/ Early Empire. Does anyone know anything more about the phenomenon?
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,446
#4
I think Plutarch called the heavy infantry of Mithridates "phalanx", though I think he also used it for the romans.
Julius Caesar also used phalanx to refer to Gallic or Germanic formations on a couple occasions in his account of the Gallic Wars. Phalanx to the modern reader probably conjures up images of hoplites or phalangites, but ancient Greek and Roman writers could sometimes use the word more loosely to refer to any dense formation of infantry.

Whether or not a writer meant a body of troops were armed and fought in a Greek fashion would probably depend on other details in the text besides use of the term phalanx, or failing that, archaeological evidence from the period.
 
Jul 2017
2,247
Australia
#6
Yeah, the word phalanx has a fairly loose meaning. A lot of older authors will refer to any tactical body of heavy infantry as a "phalanx"; Appian refers to Tigranes' heavy cavalry as deployed in a "phalanx".

The quality of the native Pontic troops at Chaeronea was likely quite questionable. No doubt it was heavily reinforced by (and relied on) mercenaries paid for by the riches of Pontus' trade in the Black Sea and elsewhere.
 
Likes: Scaeva

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
4,736
Netherlands
#7
Julius Caesar also used phalanx to refer to Gallic or Germanic formations on a couple occasions in his account of the Gallic Wars. Phalanx to the modern reader probably conjures up images of hoplites or phalangites, but ancient Greek and Roman writers could sometimes use the word more loosely to refer to any dense formation of infantry.

Whether or not a writer meant a body of troops were armed and fought in a Greek fashion would probably depend on other details in the text besides use of the term phalanx, or failing that, archaeological evidence from the period.
I was under the impression that they used it to describe formations which used spears. Then again I am not a military historian or some such.

As to the original subject. I would assume that if Mithridates didn't use a phalanx type of infantry that Chaeronea would have been a cakewalk for the Romans (given their results during those days against anything without a phalanx) in stead of the narrow victory that it was for Sulla.
 
Jul 2017
2,247
Australia
#8
As to the original subject. I would assume that if Mithridates didn't use a phalanx type of infantry that Chaeronea would have been a cakewalk for the Romans (given their results during those days against anything without a phalanx) in stead of the narrow victory that it was for Sulla.
Except that the hard struggle Plutarch regales us comes from the memoirs of Sulla... interesting, that.
 

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