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Philip's Defeat and Flight

The main body of the Roman right followed and
The Macedonian phalanx outflanked.
slaughtered the flying Macedonians. But one of the tribunes, with about twenty maniples, having made up his mind on his own account what ought to be done next, contributed by his action very greatly to the general victory. He saw that the division which was personally commanded by Philip was much farther forward than the rest of the enemy, and was pressing hard upon the Roman left by its superior weight; he therefore left the right, which was by this time clearly victorious, and directing his march towards the part of the field where a struggle was still going on, he managed to get behind the Macedonians and charge them on the rear. The nature of the phalanx is such that the men cannot face round singly and defend themselves: this tribune, therefore, charged them and killed all he could get at; until, being unable to defend themselves, they were forced to throw down their shields and fly; whereupon the Romans in their front, who had begun to yield, faced round again and charged them too.
The king quits the field and flies.
At first, as I have said, Philip, judging from the success of his own division, felt certain of a complete victory; but when he saw his Macedonians all on a sudden throwing away their shields, and the enemy close upon their rear, he withdrew with a small body of foot and horse a short distance from the field and took a general survey of the whole battle: and when he observed that the Romans in their pursuit of his left wing were already approaching the tops of the hills, he rallied as many Thracians and Macedonians as he could at the moment, and fled. As Flamininus was pursuing the fugitives he came upon the lines of the Macedonian left, just as they were scaling the ridge in their attempt to cross the hills, and at first halted in some surprise because the enemy held their spears straight up, as is the custom of the Macedonians when surrendering themselves or intending to pass over to the enemy. Presently, having had the reason of this movement explained to him, he held his men back, thinking it best to spare the lives of those whom fear had induced to surrender. But whilst he was still reflecting on this matter, some of the advanced guard rushed upon these men from some higher ground and put most of them to the sword, while the few survivors threw away their shields and escaped by flight.

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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, 33.2
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.27
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