Battle of Abae, c.352 BC

The battle of Abae (c.352 BC) was one of a series of setbacks suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus, and came after a unsuccessful invasion of Boeotia and a failure to capture the city of Naryx (Third Sacred War).

Battles of the Third Sacred War (356-346 BC)
Battles of the
Third Sacred War
(356-346 BC)

Phayllus became the Phocian leader after the death of his brother Onomarchus at the battle of the Crocus Field in Thessaly in 353 BC. He was able to rebuilt the Phocian army after this disaster, gaining troops from Sparta, Athens and Achaea, the defeated tyrants of Pherae, and newly hired mercenaries. His first expedition, into Boeotia, saw him suffer defeats at Orchomenus, the Cephisus River and Coroneia. He then invaded Epicnemidian Locris, on the coast between Thermopylae and the mouth of the Cephisus River. He had more success here, but lost 200 men in a failed attempt to capture Naryx.

After this setback Phayllus seems to have moved south, perhaps to defend the borders of Phocis. He was soon camped near the small town of Abae, site of an oracle to Apollo Abaeus (now called Exarchos). His military skills hadn't improved, and his camp was attacked at night by a Boeotian force. Diodorus reports that the Boeotians slew 'a great number' of Phocians (16.38.4), and then went on to raid Phocis, where they were able to gather a great deal of booty.

On the way back from this raid the Boeotians stopped to help the defenders of the city of the Narycaeans (probably Naryca in Epicnemidian Locris), which was being besieged. Phayllus caught up with the Boeotians while they were outside the city, forced them to retreat, and captured the city, which was then razed.

Soon after this Phayllus's generally unsuccessful rule ended after he died of a wasting disease (which may have played a part in his poor performance). He was succeeded by Phalacus, son of his brother Onomarchus.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 March 2017), Battle of Abae, c.352 BC ,

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