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Thread: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

  1. #1

    Default Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    I've been wondering what the best unit selection would be for a Hellenic faction if one were to meet the armies of Rome - that is, the most common ones used by Romans when they're still only an Italian power. I'm particularly interested in whether phalanx units are any good vs. legionaires or not (I know they weren't that good historically, but...) - and if not, then what one should actually use against heavy roman infantry.

    I'm used to playing Seleucids and then fighting Ptolematoi with a lot of phalanxes keepin their army occupied while I sweep around them with cavalry and destroy them. But playing a Makedon campaign and planning to relieve the Epirotes in Italy, I'm unsure of what units will actually be of any use & which will just get slaughtered for no purpose...

    thx in anticipation
    Moreover, I advise that Syracusans must be added to EB (insp. by Cato the Elder )

    Is looking forward to the 2090's, when EB 20.0 will be released - spanning the entire Eurasian continent and having no Eleutheroi - with a faction for every independent state instead. Look out for the Gedrosians, the Cretans and the kingdom of Kallatis!

  2. #2
    The Rabbit Nibbler Member Korlon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Phalangitai are perfectly fine as long as you have sufficient cavalry and other, lighter units to back them up.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Phalanxes will do fine against the Romans. They generally failed vs the Romans for reasons other than being penetrated frontally. Protect your flanks and your cavalry is superior to what the Romans can field, so you can easily do the whole anvil/hammer thing.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    I always found my self crushing Roman armies...a phalanx just can't be penetrated unless we are talking about levy phalangites and elite Romans and it will hold long enough for yor cavalry to crush them. Easy.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Ok. Yeah, I read about the battle of the Second Macedonian War, that one of the Third (Pydna) and etc., and they always seemed to meet Rome in stony territory with no protection at the flanks whatsoever (Pydna being especially bad in both, thus the complete defeat). But I just had some bad experience during some preliminary skirmish and thought I'd ask ;)

    I'll go make my own First Macedonian War, and even though they're at peace with Carthage, I promise to blast them away anyway ;) Thanks!
    Moreover, I advise that Syracusans must be added to EB (insp. by Cato the Elder )

    Is looking forward to the 2090's, when EB 20.0 will be released - spanning the entire Eurasian continent and having no Eleutheroi - with a faction for every independent state instead. Look out for the Gedrosians, the Cretans and the kingdom of Kallatis!

  6. #6
    theweak-themighty-the CRAZIII Member craziii's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    javs are pretty useless firing from the front in EB. that means a phalanx will own most units when they charge the front. the exception to this rule are the elite infantry units. as long as few of the soldiers filter from the front to the sides after the initial charge, you will be astonish at how fast the phalanx are cut down.

  7. #7
    Member Member anubis88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    As i see it a Seleucid army in EB is far superior to the roman one, so you don't have to worry about that too much
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    Member Member Cartaphilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    It's simple:

    To fight the falanx, fix it with some troops and try to attack their flanks or rear, with cavalry charges or with lighter infantry troops.
    The falanx will finally collapse. But sometimes they keep fighting till the end.

    But if you fight with falanxes, protect your flanks, and stand firm. Only if the enemies have a superior elite falanx you will be defeated.
    Last edited by Cartaphilus; 05-07-2008 at 17:26.
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    Involuntary Gaesatae Member The Celtic Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Pointy stick on foot goes to enemy front. Pointy stick on horse goes to enemy back. Smoky stick goes to own mouth.
    Last edited by The Celtic Viking; 05-06-2008 at 23:27.

  10. #10
    Whatever Member konny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    A solid wall of pikes (that would be 5 or 6 units of phalanx) will certainly crush every AI army without much casualties. Keep some Thureophoroi in reserves to counter flanking manouvers and have a strong "hammer" ready to deliver the final blow.

    In fact phalanx armies are the worst to encounter with Romans. It requires a constant micromanagement and switching between guard mode on and off to create, find and exploit gaps in the line. I just had a very difficult battle against Carthage phalanxes with Roman Legions. The AI was very well defending its flanks with Hoplites and Elite Lybians, so I had to go frontal through the pikes. My advantages were that the major fighting took place in dense woods, I had the higher ground and was able to isolate and kill the enemy general very early.

    Disclaimer: my posts are to be considered my private opinion and not offical statements by the EB Team

  11. #11

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Quote Originally Posted by konny
    A solid wall of pikes (that would be 5 or 6 units of phalanx) will certainly crush every AI army without much casualties. Keep some Thureophoroi in reserves to counter flanking manouvers and have a strong "hammer" ready to deliver the final blow.

    In fact phalanx armies are the worst to encounter with Romans. It requires a constant micromanagement and switching between guard mode on and off to create, find and exploit gaps in the line. I just had a very difficult battle against Carthage phalanxes with Roman Legions. The AI was very well defending its flanks with Hoplites and Elite Lybians, so I had to go frontal through the pikes. My advantages were that the major fighting took place in dense woods, I had the higher ground and was able to isolate and kill the enemy general very early.

    Yep unfortunately the AI doesn't know the #1 rule when facing Phalanx. Never attack them head on. So yeah as long as you protect your flanks with a few good non phalanx units you should be able to beat the romans everytime.

  12. #12
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    When you get to Italy, hire yourself Bruttians and Samnites. They're pretty useful accompaniments to your phalanxes.
    It began on seven hills - an EB 1.1 Romani AAR with historical house-rules (now ceased)
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  13. #13
    Probably Drunk Member Reverend Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    A great comedian once said, "a snake that don't bite is a worm on steroids."

    Basically, it's the same thing with Romans... they're just Sparabara on steroids. Just use the same tactics that Alex used against the Persians. Besides, if you're really worried about using pikemen, just use Thorakitai (sp?).
    Last edited by Reverend Joe; 05-07-2008 at 00:44.

  14. #14
    Member Member Irishmafia2020's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Makedonians don't get Thoraktai unfortunately....
    Edit- sorry, the OP was talking about KH weren't they...
    Last edited by Irishmafia2020; 05-07-2008 at 03:05.

  15. #15
    Symbasileus ton Rhomaioktonon Member Maion Maroneios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    He was asking about any Hellenic faction in general. Anyway, I have fought against Romans before as Makedonia and I must tell you, having a full-force Successor army is difficult to retrain, having to ship your crippled units back and forth to mainland Hellas. It's much better if you have just 6-7 units of pikemen (doesn't matter which ones, but I prefer Pez because they don't die easilly) and pump up your armies with regional mercenary Bruttians and Samnites. You can, of course, also use less pikemen and more mercenaries or flexible units in general (Peltastai, Thureophoroi) and mix them up with phalangitai to create a more flexible phalanx. And of course, always remember to use good cavalry. Hippeis Thessalikoi and Prodromoi are excellent. Hetairoi are even better, of course!

    Have fun and please crush those puny Romaioi kynai (Roman dogs)!!!
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Your greatest problem is that the AI seems to want to avoid head on battles with phalanxes with most units (sensibly...) So they constantly try and go round the outside. This can leave you chasing them around the battlefield with the phalanxes - slowly... Consequently, the best plan is to get in their faces as early as possible. Once engaged they are easy to beat.

    Personally in these situations I always turn phalanx mode off once the armies are close to each other, run the troops the last few metres towards the enemy line and then engage phalanx mode at the last minute. The AI cant avoid you then.

    yes it means you will suffer more casualties due to missile fire on the approach, but the positive is that you are not fighting most of the battle with your support troops and only bringing the phalanx in at the end to help out. It should be the other way around...

  17. #17
    Witchety Grub Member KhaziOfKalabara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cambyses
    Your greatest problem is that the AI seems to want to avoid head on battles with phalanxes with most units (sensibly...) So they constantly try and go round the outside. This can leave you chasing them around the battlefield with the phalanxes - slowly... Consequently, the best plan is to get in their faces as early as possible. Once engaged they are easy to beat.

    Personally in these situations I always turn phalanx mode off once the armies are close to each other, run the troops the last few metres towards the enemy line and then engage phalanx mode at the last minute. The AI cant avoid you then.

    yes it means you will suffer more casualties due to missile fire on the approach, but the positive is that you are not fighting most of the battle with your support troops and only bringing the phalanx in at the end to help out. It should be the other way around...
    Each to their own, but it feels too much like an exploit for me. Would some form of support force of hippakontistai, tarentines, lonchophoroi or similar to throw javelins at the back of the rambling maniples could be effective?

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken

  18. #18

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Khaziofkalabra,

    Yes - it would be effective. But then you are effectively fighting the battle with your support forces not the phalanxes, which is exactly the situation I would try to avoid. Maybe it is more historically accurate however to have your cavalry and ranged troops whittled down in successive battles so that after a while you are only left with unprotected phalanxes. As after all is this the weakness that supposedly undermined the successor kingdoms?

    Its probably just me, but after a few battles I do get tired of chasing people around the map and fighting the entire battle on the flanks.

    Having said all that, and here I could be very wrong, I had understood that historically phalanxes had moved quickly into combat - non-sarissa troops even charged. ie the famous Athenian charge at Marathon. And did Alexander not move his phalanxes as fast as possible into the enemies face at several battles? If I remember right he was so outnumbered only a quick strike to decapitate the persian beast would work for him.

    Used offensively to pin people in place, the phalanx is useless if it is unable to catch and engage the enemy.

  19. #19
    Witchety Grub Member KhaziOfKalabara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cambyses
    Khaziofkalabra,

    Yes - it would be effective. But then you are effectively fighting the battle with your support forces not the phalanxes, which is exactly the situation I would try to avoid. Maybe it is more historically accurate however to have your cavalry and ranged troops whittled down in successive battles so that after a while you are only left with unprotected phalanxes. As after all is this the weakness that supposedly undermined the successor kingdoms?
    A fair point, but then if you want to use historically accurate tactics in all cases then the likelihood is that you will lose your battles, like the successors did. The alternative would be, I suppose, to pin the maniples in place with peltastai, thureophoroi, samnitici / bruttians etc. until the phalanx close with them. By this point though your line of battle is thoroughly broken, which can be a major problem if the enemy has any unengaged troops.

    I have to admit to not having fought the Romans in my current Mak campaign (I'm actually more likely to intervene in alliance with them against the Epeirotes any turn now) but I've not had any problems with other factions furiously flanking me with their non-phalanx combat troops, as long as I
    i) use a single line of sarissa / doru units - normally 4-6 phalanxes flanked by 1-2 hoplitai or thureophoroi on each wing
    ii) keep them in a long line as long as possible, maintained through careful unit grouping
    iii) am very careful where on the battlefield I engage the enemy, religiously avoiding trees and broken terrain
    iv) accept that the flanking units are likely to see slightly more action than the phalanxes.

    It's not perfect but we're all victims of the battle AI's limitations.

    At least against the Romans you can be fairly confident of cavalry superiority.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken

  20. #20
    Symbasileus ton Rhomaioktonon Member Maion Maroneios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Quote Originally Posted by KhaziOfKalabara
    At least against the Romans you can be fairly confident of cavalry superiority.
    Certainly, I myself creamed their legions with hetairoi and prodromoi as my cavalry force. Especially hetairoi make short work of just about every unit.
    Last edited by Maion Maroneios; 05-08-2008 at 13:05.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    I certainly wouldn't use any of the KH heavy infantry - I think that the Romans' selection is superior. Use phalanxes; I also like to use some dacian falx wielding troops to flank (rather than the KH infantry) - the AP attribute lets you slice up the maniple from behind whilst they are still facing the phalanxes.

    Also get some medium cavalry - KH selection includes a cav unit that is both AP and fast moving - perfect for hunting out and killing the multi-starred Roman FM.

  22. #22
    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Having fought a 30 year long war with the Romans in Italy as the Epeirotes, I have some minor tips to give, though most have alrady been given by others.
    My main army always consisted of 2 Pezhetairoi and 2 Phalagitai Deuteroi to act as the main battle line. Supporting these troops were 2 units of Thureophoroi, or Thorakitai when possible, plus 2 heavy Samnites, 2 Lucanians, 2 Toxotai and 2 units of Hoplitai Haploi. For cavalry I had just two units of Tarantines. Commanded by Pyrrhus son and his huge bodyguard this army destroyed dozens of Roman legions, while requiring minimal retraining.
    The tactic is quite simple, the Phalanxes in the middle either advances on the enemy or waits for him, depending on the situation, while the Toxotai fires upon him and the Tarantines and Lucanians advance to throw their javelins.
    As soon as the main enemy force has engaged the phalanx (it always does) it is doomed. Often some enemies will be chasing after the Lucanians, and in that case the Lucanians turn to face them while the Samnites and Thureophoroi fall upon their backs. These isolated troops often route quite easily, whereafter the Lucanians and the heavy infantry march upon the main enemy who is vainly trying to break the phalanxes. The Hoplites have already marched up on the flanks both the lengthen and strengthen them, while the Tarantines and Generals bodyguard has usually driven off any nearby missile or cavalry troops. By now the enemies attacking the phalanxes will be sufficiently tired and disheartened by their fruitless attempts to break the wall of pikes, and so when the the combined mass of the Lucanians, Samnites, Thureophoroi, Tarantines and the Generals bodyguard all hit them in the rear all but the most elite troops will rout, and these are quickly disposed of by the now massive numbers of soldiers surrounding them. If during the battle any cavarly attempts to flank the phalanx and attack the Toxotai (the enemy FM often does this) one or both units of Hoplitai´s turn to face him while my FM line up to charge him in the back, often resulting in an early loss of the Romans FM, very helpful later on when the main attack commences. If the Toxotai are attacked it is of no great concern, as they can hold their own for some while against cavalry, and are easily retrainable. Apart from possible losses amonngst the Toxotai this tactic enabled me to defeat equal or superior Roman armies while taking extremely few lossed, almost always under 50 men were lost while more then 2000 Romans often fell. Plus it´s quite a cheap army, with relatively low upkeep.
    As I played this on 1.0 I didn´t use any Bruttians, but my limited experience with them suggests that I would not use them were I to attempt a new Epeirote campaign.
    Damn, this got a lot longer then I expected.
    The Appomination

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    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Quote Originally Posted by General Appo
    As I played this on 1.0 I didn┤t use any Bruttians, but my limited experience with them suggests that I would not use them were I to attempt a new Epeirote campaign.
    Uh, the Bruttians are brilliant medium infantry, easily comparable to hastati. Why wouldn't you use them?
    It began on seven hills - an EB 1.1 Romani AAR with historical house-rules (now ceased)
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    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Uh, because I don´t have any need for troops comparable to the Hastati? Why would I use them? I find the Thureophoroi and Samnites (the heavy infantry at that, not the spearmen) much better at swift yet decisive attacks, the Lucanians are much superior at luring enemies away plus chunking javelins, while the Hoplitai are far superior in holding the flanks of the phalanx. I guess I could fill up the 2 or 3 empty unit slots, but that would just cost more money.
    I´m sure I would use Bruttians as part of front-line garriosons and in minor armies, but they just don´t have a place in my main Epeirote Italian army.

    Edit: Also, one of the reasons I prefer Thureophoroi above Bruttians are becasue of their spears, the Thureophoroi are much better to have if the enemy cavalry attacks. Many times have one or two units of Equites charged my Thureophoroi just as they were aiding the Lucanians, only to meet a swift end against the Thureophoroi´s spears. I´m sure the Bruttians could defeat the Equites too, just not with as few casualties.
    Last edited by General Appo; 05-09-2008 at 15:31.
    The Appomination

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    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    When it comes to infantry-on-infantry combat, swordsmen are generally better than spearmen. They're also better flankers than spearmen. The Samnites aren't bad, but I'm sure the Bruttians don't compare poorly to them.
    It began on seven hills - an EB 1.1 Romani AAR with historical house-rules (now ceased)
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    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    Yes well it´s not so much infantry-on-infantry combat as just charge and the enemy routs. Plus the mentioned advantage versus cavarly. I don´t know, I just think the Samnites are better then the Bruttians and I like some spearmen in my flanking force. I´m sure I could do just or almost as good with Bruttians instead, but if I were to redo the whole campaign in 1.1 I think I would still prefer the Thureophoroi,
    The Appomination

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  27. #27
    Βασιλευς και Αυτοκρατωρ Αρχης Member Centurio Nixalsverdrus's Avatar
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    Default AW: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    I made this diagram back in 0.81 days. Put the last phalanx from reserve to the front would be my opinion today, but the rest I'd do exactly this way also today.



    On the flanks in the front line position Thureophoroi. The reserve center should be built of elite heavies like Hypaspistai, Galatian Heavies etc. On the outer position light flankers preferably with AP attribute, like Agrianians. Before the front group Thraikioi Peltastai, they double as skirmishers and AP infantry. As for ranged infantry I recommend Syrian Archers, or Bosphorian Archers. Cavalry: FM and another squadron Hetairoi, two squadrons Thessalikoi, on the flanks Thraikioi Prodromoi. This is a superb army that cuts Romaioi to pieces.

    In battle, just hold your ground until they come, or avance at a slow, controlled speed, pikes up. If you have to attack their line, ram them with the pikes down, then halt them once they made contact via Backspace. Put basically every unit into guard mode except the cavalry. Normally a unit of the enemy tries to flank you and lines up in a 90░ angle to your flank guard. Rearrange your Flankguard Thureophoroi in a 45░ angle to your pikes then. Use your Reserve line for flanking (guard mode off then). Use your equestric supremacy to annihilate the enemy horse, than finish them off with a charge in the back.

    Give them time to group, don't run at them like mad! Your army is not build for that, and it also screws up totally any battle experience due to the intellectual deficits of the AI. Slowly, controlled and micromanaging instead.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    If you have cav superiority and you leave cav on the wings, the AI almost without fail sends infantry running after them. It's easy to bait and switch them, but not very realistic.

    I find it helps to put the cavalry directly behind the infantry, in a row. When cavalry aren't "sticking out" the sides of your line, the AI tends not to chase them with infantry... however the AI still usually attempts to flank (using Darth's AI mod) and will often try to overload each flank by sending 3-4 units to attack each of your end units. It's good in concept but is sloppily execute and never works out for the AI against competent human players.

    Inevitably this normally leaves a gap right in the center of your lines where your troops aren't engaged. You can exploit this gap with your cavalry or with infantry.

  29. #29
    Symbasileus ton Rhomaioktonon Member Maion Maroneios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    That's a nice composition, Centurio Nixalsverdrus, but isn't the main battle line going to be a tad too short?
    ~Maion

  30. #30
    Satalextos Basileus Seron Member satalexton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strategy Question: How To Face Romans as Hellenes

    it doesn't really matter as long as the troops on the flanks can hold out long enough for the calvary to wheel around to deliver the blow. Also, having a 2nd line would mean they can plug any gaps in the lines and reinforce/flank any flankers that became a bit too dangerous.




    "ΜΗΔΕΝ ΕΩΡΑΚΕΝΑΙ ΦΟΒΕΡΩΤΕΡΟΝ ΚΑΙ ΔΕΙΝΟΤΕΡΟΝ ΦΑΛΑΓΓΟΣ ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΚΗΣ" -Lucius Aemilius Paullus

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