The Rise and Fall of Onomarchus: A Historical Account of a Notorious Ancient Greek Tyrant. It was Onomarchus who was the supreme commander of Phocian forces during the Third Sacred War (356–346) from 354 to 352, during which he was the supreme Phocian aristocrat and general.
The Delphic Amphictyony fined him for tilling sacred land, a charge that had triggered the war, and he was one of the Phocian rulers who led forces alongside Philomelus, the original commander of the Phocian forces. Onomarchus gathered together the defeated Phocian forces in 354, and after Philomelus’ death at the battle of Neon, became the most powerful advocate for continuing the war in a ruthless manner, and indeed he did so even more violently than ever before.
In his time, Phocis was at its height of power, with forces of over 20,000 men, under his leadership, and either began or accelerated the looting of Delphic treasures to pay for mercenaries and under his leadership, the city reached its height of power.
Furthermore, he killed many of his enemies within the city of Phocis and confiscated their property as well. With the help of his enlarged forces, he pursued the war with vigor, attacking the neighboring Locrians in the east and west, as well as making several incursions into Boeotia. With the help of Lycophron and Peitholaus, the tyrants of Pherae, he was able to open up a new front in Thessaly by joining forces with them.
He is reported to have lined up women, children, and elderly members of his army outside the walls of the Phocian town of Elatea in order to demonstrate to the enemy how desperate they were to defend themselves against a Boeotian attack, according to a probably apocryphal story. There is a good possibility that Onomarchus invaded Thessaly in 353, in order to help his Pheraean allies against their enemies in Thessaly, and also against Philip II of Macedon who was living in Thessaly at the time.
During his two battles with Philip, Onomarchus defeated him twice, enticing the Macedonian forces to pursue his retreating men into a crescent-shaped valley, through which he attacked them from the ridges on the flanks of the valley on one occasion. As Philip withdrew, he said, he retreated like a ram and attacked all the more violently, as if it had been a ram (Polyaenus, Stratagems 2.38).
After the battle of Crocus Field, which took place near the Gulf of Pagasae, the two generals met again the next year (353/2). Philip won a comprehensive victory this time around and Onomarchus was killed as a result of his victory. As a result, his brother, Phayllus, took over as his successor in command. Read More – Francis Wyatt – The Governor of Virginia