Friday 19 April 2013

The battle of Pidna

After the death of the old king Philipus of  Macedon (who had been defeated in the 2d macedonian war) an new prince is crowned, Pereseus, after killing his own brother (a close friend of the romans). The new monarch has the ambition to restitute the homeland of Alexander to it's former glory, and starts to expand in the balcanic peninsula seizing numerous cities and states. His ambitions clash with those of Pergamum, and after cityes assignet tho them by the senate fall tho the macedonians an inmediate request for aid is sent tho Rome. The roman people unwilling to tolerate the re-arise of a strong power in greece declares war on Perseus (anyway there would be lots of  plunder), the proclamation is received with enthusiasm and soon the tribuni have dificulties to handle the excess of legionary volunteers (for as Livius said, the legionaries who fought in the pervious macedonian wars had returned home far richer from when left the banks of the Tiber).

After two years of stalemate the war will be finally decided in the field of Pydna, where the legions, lead by the recently elected consul Aemilius Paulus (a veteran from the ligurian wars) will decide the fate not only of Macedon but the whole orient!

The roman camp

 Before the battle the consul, Aemilus Paulus adresses to his troops

 Meanwhile, the Macedonian army, led by king Perseus himself deploys in front of them.
Amongst the macedonians is clearly visible the disciplined wall of pikes of the royal phalanx.
 Pezethairoi ready for the fight
And so the battle begins, the romans, deployed in triplex acies (three ranks) seize the initiative and advance boldly against the foe.

The royal cavalry, led by Perseus himself rushes to meet them, menacing the left of the roman formation and leaving the phalanx behind.
 Perseus at the head of it's hetairoi (companions on horse)

The roman cavalry are the first to meet the foe, after routing an unit of light cavalry, are in their turn routed by the hetairoi (the unit inmediately behind the mounted archers). But the Hastati (roman unit behind the cavalry) wil hold the impetous king and his elite cavalry for the rest of the battle.

For his part, the consul, in his senatorial red boots, leads the tirarii, veteran legionaries from the wars against the hated hannibal. This unit will have an extremelly sucessful performance destroying in his own (with rear support of some velites) the phalanx, and holding back the hipaspistai (macedonians armed in the hoplitic style). Clearly, after hannibal all enemy was nothing to worry much for.

 The battle at it's peak: in the background the hastati hold heroicly against the hetairoi, in the center the consuls fights with the hipaspistai after routing the phalangites. In his right, principes (legionaries from upper middle class) try in vain tho destroy a unit of elusive light infantry that have harassed them greatly during ALL the battle. Finally in the foreground the second unit of hastati cut to pieces the second unit of macedonian cavalry (who after eating the roman horsemen had been severely damaged by pilum volleys).

 And so ends the battle, the roman cavalry has fled as ususal leaving the job of whinning the battle to the legiones (those nobles, one can't trust on them). The romans have lost two units, the macedonians five so a clear roman visctory!

Macedon will be divided into three week and interindependent states, the macedonian royal house is erased from earth, and the near orient falls into the hands of the republic (whose only threats will be in the future brief wars against Mithridates of Pontus ans some cilitian pirates).

Si vis pacem, para bellum!