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Which is the best between legion and phalanx

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Poll Question: Which unit is the strongest heavy infantry
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
12 [46.15%]
11 [42.31%]
3 [11.54%]
0 [0.00%]
0 [0.00%]
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YusakuJon3 View Drop Down
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  Quote YusakuJon3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Which is the best between legion and phalanx
    Posted: 23-Nov-2004 at 05:51
I'd go with the Legion due to its versatility.  A phalanx is primarily a defensive organization most useful within the limited spaces available within the mountain valleys of Greece.  To counter this, the Romans used the pilium, a sort of javelin with a point designed to bend upon impact with the opponents' shields.  Then, while the opponent was encumbered by the damaged shields and dangling shafts, the legions would charge in with their gladii drawn, protected from the spears by their own curved shields.
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2004 at 11:41

I think they are equal.

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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Nov-2004 at 15:47

Originally posted by Yiannis

I'm not sure that all Greeks switched to the Macedonian style phalanx. Some adopted but others continued to fight in the traditional style phalanx.

True.  It is interesting to note that later on, people using the Macedonian phalanx began to armor their phalangites much as the hoplites had been armed(save for that they kept and lengthened the sarissa), and thusy, they took away the greatest arm of the Macedonian phalanx.

The wide, heavy shield and armor provided southern Greek hoplites protection against the sarisas. I'd say that when faced the two phalanxes would be equal...

The majority of the time, the engagements between the two were mainly just pushing contest.

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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Nov-2004 at 01:41
Originally posted by Lannes

, the engagements between the two were mainly just pushing contest.

Yes, the famous "othismos"...

So the Hoplites come into "Parataxis" (formation), then they march, then they run towards the opponent ("dromos") and then they hit with their spears ("doratismos") and puch ("othismos") until the opponent phalanx line breaks.

As the poet Tyrtaios once said:
"No, No, let him take a wide stance and stand up strongly against them, digging both heels in the ground, biting his lip with his teeth, covering thighs and legs beneath, his chest and his shoulders under the hollowed-out protection of his broad shield, while in his right hand he brandishes his powerful war-spear and shakes terribly the crest high above his helm."

Once this is done the winning side set's up a "Tropaion" (trophy) and the Hoplites have a party before returning to their fields.

Suprisingly there were relativelly few deaths in this kind of battle. Thigs got ugly, after the Persian wars and especially during the Pelopo nnesian war...



Edited by Yiannis
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  Quote dman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2004 at 18:57

1500 years later the Spanish would return to the Roman legionaire to defeat

the Swiss pike blocks which were very similar to Macedonian phalanx.  The

Spanish used what were call "sword and buckler men"  equipped with a

sword, steel body armour similar to that worn by the legionaire and a small

round steel shield (buckler) .  TheS&B men would literally dove under the

leveled pikes and slash at the pikemen to create gaps.  The swordsman

knowm as rodelaros played an important part in the conquest of Mexico

by Cortes.  Swordsman composed about 20 % of the Spanish formations

or colannas of about 1000-1500 men from the end of the 15th to the mid 16th

cent when it was replaced by the tercio .  The tercio was 3 x the colanna (4000

4500 men) and composed of equal parts musket and pikemen.   

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  Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2012 at 13:10
I don't think there is a single instance of a phalanx having defeated a legion outside of the phalanx formations that took place at the Battle of Tunis, but that incorporated much more complex formations and units outside of the phalanx.
 
Pydna could have quite possibly eked out a victory, had Perseus not panicked and fled with the cavalry rather than engaging.
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  Quote Toltec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2012 at 17:14
Hannibal's Phalanx did rather well against the legions.
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  Quote byzanto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2013 at 17:19
I agree Alexander also had the abilty to arrange his army so that all its components complimented each other. During battle Alexander himself had the tactical instincts to maneuver his troops to strike at the most opportune time in the most opportune spot and take advantage at his opponents weakness . Alexander had the battle sense similar to Tze Tzu and his "Art of war"concepts. This was far more superior than Ceasar and his army and his strategies he would have defeated him easily with the least amount of causulties . And as far as actually conquering Rome the city Alexander was also an expert in seige tactics look at what he did to Tyre which was better fortified and harder to seige that city since it was off the   shore  of the mediterean sea.
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  Quote TITAN_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2013 at 04:16
Originally posted by okamido

I don't think there is a single instance of a phalanx having defeated a legion outside of the phalanx formations that took place at the Battle of Tunis, but that incorporated much more complex formations and units outside of the phalanx.
 
Pydna could have quite possibly eked out a victory, had Perseus not panicked and fled with the cavalry rather than engaging.

The Phalanx, when supported by cavalry, is invincible: Pyrrhus of Epirus gave the Romans a couple of lessons too! 

The only reason the Romans conquered Greece was this: There was no Greek alliance of hoplites and phalanxes from Macedonia, Athens, Sparta and the other great powers. 
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  Quote Caracalla Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2013 at 07:17
I voted legions. They were more maneuverable than the phalanx. The Phalanx strength came in it's need to stick together. The legion's strength came from it's ability to be taken apart and spread around the battlefield as and when needed. Besides, the legions were an evolution of the Phalanx system, so they were designed to be an improvement.
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