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The Battle

The charge was made with great violence and loud shouting on both sides: for both advancing parties raised their war cry, while those who were not actually engaged shouted encouragement to those that were; and the result was a scene of the wildest excitement, terrible in the last degree.
Philip's right wing repulse the Roman left.
Philip's right wing came off brilliantly in the encounter, for they were charging down hill and were superior in weight, and their arms were far more suited for the actual conditions of the struggle: but as for the rest of the army, that part of it which was in the rear of the actual fighters did not get into contact with the enemy; while the left wing, which had but just made the ascent, was only beginning to show on the ridge.
Successful advance of the Roman right.
Seeing that his men were unable to stand the charge of the phalanx, and that his left wing was losing ground, some having already fallen and the rest slowly retiring, but that hopes of saving himself still remained on the right, Flamininus hastily transferred himself to the latter wing; and when he perceived that the enemy's force was not well together—part being in contact with the actual fighters, part just in the act of mounting the ridge, and part halting on it and not yet beginning to descend,1— keeping the elephants in front he led the maniples of his right against the enemy. The Macedonians having no one to give them orders, and unable to form a proper phalanx, owing to the inequalities of the ground and to the fact that, being engaged in trying to come up with the actual combatants, they were still in column of march, did not even wait for the Romans to come to close quarters: but, thrown into confusion by the mere charge of the elephants, their ranks were disordered and they broke into flight.

1 I have given the meaning which I conceive this sentence to have; but the editors generally suspect the loss of a word like ἄπρακτα or ἀπραγοῦντα after τὰ μὲν συνεχῆ τοῖς διαγωνιζομένοις. This is unnecessary if we regard συνεχῆ as predicative, and I think this way of taking it gives sufficient sense. Polybius is thinking of the Macedonian army as being so dislocated by the nature of the ground, that, while some parts were in contact with the enemy, the rest had not arrived on the scene of the fighting.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.32
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.37
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