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Battle of Pandosia
Date 331 BC
Location near Cosenza, Italy
Result Italic victory.
Commanders and leaders
Alexander of Epirus

The Battle of Pandosia was fought in 331 BC between a Greek force composed mostly of Macedonians, Epirotes and Tarantines[1] against Southern Italic mountain tribes, including mostly Oscan speaking Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttii. The Macedonians were led by Alexander of Epirus, the uncle of Alexander the Great. The Italic peoples soundly defeated the invading Greeks, and Alexander of Epirus was killed by a Lucanian during the battle.

The Battle of Pandosia's significance is threefold. First, it marks the beginning of the end for Greek colonization in Southern Italy. After the battle, Greek colonization of Italy ceased, and existing Greek city states found themselves under pressure from the Oscan tribes.

Second, the battle marked the first time in over a hundred years that the massively successful Greco-Macedonian phalanx battle formation saw defeat. The Italians defeated the phalanx by forcing the Greek forces to do battle on uneven, hilly territory. The Italian fighters, armed only with short swords and small shields, fought in small companies (later called "maniples" in Latin), that featured maximum speed and maneauverability. They easily outflanked the less maneauverable Greek fighters in phalanx formation. Until the end of the Roman Empire, gladiator shows featured a style of fighter bearing the distinctive Southern Italian battle gear. The Romans called this style, unsurprisingly, the Samnite.

Lastly, the battle is generally credited as the one which showed the Romans how to defeat Greek armies. The Romans later employed modified Samnite tactics with great success as they subdued the Mediterranean.

The exact battle site is still disputed. The only certainty is that it is in the mountainous Cosenza province of modern Calabria, Italy.


  1. A history of the Roman republic By Klaus Bringmann Page 59 ISBN 0-7456-3371-4 (2007)

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