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Battles of ancient Rome

Ancient Rome, a highly expansionistic empire, was involved in many wars. Led by brilliant generals, highly trained and superbly equipped Roman forces could win against an enemy army twice as strong in numbers. There were, of course, some defeats, like the battles of Cannae or Teutoburg Forest.The Roman armies have already confirmed their imperial status at the beginning of the 2nd century BCE, by massacring the Macedonian army at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, in 197 BCE. Seven years later Roman legions defeated, at Magnesia in Asia Minor, armies of the Seleucid, considered the prime power of the Hellenic world. Thus the legions proved themselves the finest army in the region. The decline of legions’ power became apparent in the 3rd century of the Common Era. Eventually, the ‘Germanisation’ of the Roman army and consequential loss of fighting prowess resulted in the fall of both army and the Roman state.

Battle of the Allia and plunder of Rome by Gauls

(390 BCE)

Battle of the Alia River, fought in 390 BCE (according to the Roman calendar) or 387/6 BCE (according to the Greek calendar), between the Romans and Senones (one of the Gallic tribes), ended in the humiliating defeat of the Roman army. Consequently, a few days after the battle, the Gauls occupied Rome, which they plundered completely.

Battle of Alia

Battle of Caudine Forks

(321 BCE)

Battle of Caudine Forks (321 BCE) was the defeat of the Romans during the Second Samnite War in the years 327-304 BCE.

Fresco depicting the battle of Caudine Forks

Battle of Sentinum

(295 BCE)

Battle of Sentinum (295 BCE) was the victory of the Romans over the Samnites. The battle was reportedly the largest battle fought on Italian soil since the founding of Rome. According to Livy' account, the legions' victory was decided by "devotio" - ritual sacrifice of the leader in exchange for the victory of the legions.

Samnite attack on Roman troops

Battle of Agrigentum

(261 BCE)

Battle of Agrigentum (261 BCE) was a victorious clash of Roman troops over Carthage in the First Punic War. If Polybius is to be believed, the victory prompted the republic on the Tiber to completely remove the enemy from Sicily.

Sicily during the First Punic War

Sea Battle of Mylae

(260 BCE)

Sea battle of Mylae (260 BCE) was fought between the Roman fleet and the Carthaginian fleet during the First Punic War. The Roman side won.

Tyrrhenian Sea, near Sicily

Battle of Cape Ecnomos

(256 BCE)

Sea battle near Cape Ecnomos (256 BCE) was fought between the Roman fleet and the Carthaginian fleet during the First Punic War. The Roman side won.

Corvus - Roman raven

Battle of Aspis

(255 BCE)

Battle of Aspis (255 BCE) was the victorious land battle of the Carthaginian troops over the Roman forces in the First Punic War.

Battle of Aspis

Battle of Panormus

(250 BCE)

Battle of Panormus (250 BCE) was a clash of Rome and Carthage in 250 BCE, during the First Punic War. The victory at Panormus was testimony to the perfect battle plan created by the Romans.

Denarius of Cecilius Metellus Caprarius. The reverse shows the triumph of  his ancestor Lucius Cecilius Metellus and the elephants captured at Panormus.

Battle of Drepanum

(249 BCE)

Battle of Drepanum (249 BCE) was a battle at sea between Carthage and Rome in the First Punic War. It was the only case of a Roman pogrom at sea during the Punic Wars.

Ancient ships

Battle of Aegates

(10 March 241 BCE)

Battle of Aegates (241 BCE) was the defeat of Carthage, which finally sealed the fate of its army in Sicily and the defeat in the First Punic War against the Romans.

Roman ship

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