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Battle of Coronea (Athenian Legacy)

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Battle of Coronea
Part of The Macedonian War (Athenian Legacy)
Ancient-greek-warfare-1
Date 336 BCE
Location Coronea
Result Decisive Athenian Victory
Territorial
changes
Macedonian Withdrawal from Thessaly
Belligerents
Kingdom of Athens Kingdom of Macedonia
Commanders and leaders
King Alexander King Amyntas
Strength
23,000 Athenians 39,000:

25,000 Macedonians

14,000 Mercenary troops

Casualties and losses
5,000 14,000

Battle of Coronea

The Battle of Coronea occurred in Athenian Thessaly in 336 BCE, as part of The Macedonian War. The invading forces, spearheaded by the Macedonian King, Amyntas was defeated by a Athenian Army, led by the newly crowned King, Alexander.

Background

Following his brief coronation at Athens, Alexander was pressed to continue the war, despite the increasing disapproval of the losing fight. Despite brief skepticism by Athenian ex-statesman, Alexander fervently believed that his control could only be solidified through a victory. Following the creation of a War Council, and the decision to counter the Macedonian invasion, Alexander assumed personal control of his army and marched toward Thessaly.

By the time Alexander had reached Thessaly, Amyntas had already occupied Larissa, and was storming toward the most southern city of Thessaly. Pharsalus. Alexander rushed toward the city, instead noticing a strategic supply route just a few miles south-east of Pharsalus, known as Coronea. The Athenian Army fortified the position, lighting fires along the intersecting roads, and halting and prospect of a direct assault on the Athenian army. Instead, Amyntas attempted to march around Alexander, stealing a night's movement and stealing the high ground at Mt. Narthacius.

Battle

The Athenian army, now concluding that it would be forced to strike first, moved south, in the direction toward Thaumaci. This action convinced the Macedonian army that Alexander was retreating to a river destination, where he could be easily outnumbered and destroyed.

The Athenian King was expecting this, dividing his forces into two, each one taking cover beside the mountainous regions of Coronea. When the Macedonian army marched through the town, scouts were dispatched to survey the area, discovering the army and rushing back to camp to release the news. Amyntas scrambled his army into battle lines, having two sections face each side of the Athenian force. With a river protecting him on his right flank and a mountain range defending his left, Amyntas felt comfortable with his position.

At Noon, Alexander ordered his battle plan set in motion, leading the light cavalry south of Coronea positions, away from the battle, where the two sections unified, nearly a mile south. Amyntas responded by twisting his farthest flanks back outward, preparing to defend a cavalry charge with both Hoplites and a series of elite cavalry. The two sections of the Athenian armies sent forth the center of their army, using a spearheading maneuver to the right side of both Macedonian lines. Amyntas ordered his most Northern units to attempt a flanking attack on the right bending forces, but he realized his position to late.

With the Athenian forces begging to push down on his most southern and center units (that had been defending against Alexander's possible cavalry charge), the center defense line had become weak and distracted, too focused on pulling the strength away so that the northern most troops could complete their flanking. The move failed, and the Athenian King ordered his cavalry to charge the instant the center began to waver from a combined pressure. The charge was met by a confusing state of disarray amongst the superior Macedonian troops, who were caught in a chaotic fight of horse and spear.

Following the charge, the Athenian forces bent back, and fought off the flanking maneuver, clearly no longer concerned with the center that had been smashed during the charge. Aymtas scrambled to save his army, marching away as his flanks began to crumble.

Aftermath

Following Alexander's victory at Coronea, Amyntas was forced to abandon both Larissa and Thessaly, with his army unable to find more ground to fight on. The first significant Athenian victory in years solidified the rule of Alexander, and put the young king in a position to defeat his Macedonian counterpart.

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